Aug. 19, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The fourth season of April Heinrichs’ tenure at the University of Virginiaarrives with a wealth of experience, a powerful team chemistry, and a deepbench that will combine to push Virginia into the elite of the collegiatesoccer scene. The Cavaliers, who have advanced to the NCAA Tournament ineach of Heinrichs’ three years, will look to move deep in the tournament of1999. The influx of yet another stellar recruiting class to a team thatreturns virtually intact will provide a great deal of excitement inCharlottesville.
With nine returning starters, including three-time All-AmericanAngela Hucles and All-ACC performers Lori Lindsey and Tammy Westinghousepatrolling the pitch and goalkeepers Megan Boehm, a two-time All-ACCselection, and Julie Harris minding the nets for the Cavaliers, the Wahooslook to improve on their second-place finish in the conference and movepermanently into the top-10 in the country.
“I have never been more excited or prepared for a pre-season as Iam for Fall ’99,” says Heinrichs. “Last year’s loss in the NCAA Tournamentresonates even today. We took that lesson and put it to good use in everypractice during the Spring. The results? Greater competitiveness atpractices, which translated into more consistency in games, whichtranslated into higher level performances and well-founded confidence.”
The Cavaliers will have a confidence that comes from havingexperience and talent up and down the pitch this season. This balance willwork well on a team that prides itself on team chemistry. Certainly a sparkto that formula will be All-American Hucles, who enters her final season ina Cavalier uniform as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Hucles alreadyholds the records for points (104) and goals (48) in a career, and she alsoholds the top three marks for goals and points in a season, set in each ofher first three years wearing the orange and blue. In 1998, Hucles led theCavaliers in scoring for the third consecutive year and five of herteam-leading 13 goals were game-winners.
Hucles’ mates on the front line will provide an excellent mix ofpower and prestige as fifth-year senior Jill Maxwell returns as doessecond-year Darci Borski. Borski ranked second on the team in scoring withnine goals and seven assists, tying her with Gaworecki with the sevenhelpers. Borski, who demonstrated sound talent with both feet all seasonlong, ranked second on the team in game-winning points (two GW goals, twoGW assists).Maxwell scored three goals and three assists in 1998 off thebench, and her four years as a Cavalier will provide leadership andmaturity. She has developed into a strong player inside the box and thisstrength will compliment the speed and sophistication of Borski andHucles. Kyla Robinson and Sasha Wilson both contributed valuable minutesoff the bench, and Heinrichs is excited to throw first year Alyssa Benitezinto the mix on the forward line, a high-school All-American who was namedplayer of the year in Florida in 1998. Benitez played on the statechampionship team last year and is no stranger to top-level soccer.Robinson and Wilson are both juniors who saw action in tough games lastyear, Robinson’s assist in the North Carolina game pulled the Cavalierswithin one at halftime and both players are sure to figure prominently inthe upcoming season.
The Cavaliers will show a strong presence in the midfieldas all of the starters return, including two-sport star Katie Tracy, theteam’s unsung hero in 1998. Tracy, who also plays for the nationally-rankedbasketball team at the conclusion of the soccer season, was one of only sixCavaliers to start each of the 22 games in 1998. She contributed sevengoals to the Cavalier offense in 1998, including a pair of game-winners. AnNSCAA All-Regional selection last year, Tracy ranked second on the team inminutes played and was crucial to the play-making of the team in hermidfield position.
Tracy’s company in the midfield all return for Heinrichs in 1999.Tracy Lache, Lori Lindsey ,and Laura Gaworecki all started 22 games alongwith Tracy in 1998 and are looking to build on the chemistry that theyestablished last year. This midfield line combined for 19 goals and nineassists, including five game-winners. Lache has played in each of theCavaliers’ games in her two seasons and this experience will be a hugeasset as the orange and blue look to control the midfield. Second-yearsLindsey and Gaworecki made a solid transition to NCAA Division I soccer andlook to build on their freshmen campaigns. Lindsey, an All-ACC choice lastyear, ranked second on the team with nine goals and her three game-winnersalso ranked second. Gaworecki’s seven assists in 1998 ranked her second onthe team and also second all-time for assists as a first year. A starter ineach of the Cavaliers’ 22 games last season, Gaworecki was one of the fourfirst-years who saw action in each of the games, giving them a solidintroduction to collegiate soccer. Gaworecki’s speed on the flank was ahuge asset to the Cavaliers and she will combine well with the midfield andforward lines to establish a presence on the field.
Lindsey Grubbs, another member of the vaunted Cavalier second-yearclass in 1999, will again use her speed to be a presence in the midfield.Grubbs also added a goal for the Virginia cause and was a spark off thebench, providing a fresh offensive threat upon her insertion into games.Her fitness and competitiveness will play a major role in the toughCavalier schedule in 1999.
Virginia looks to welcome back Lindsay Ritter to the lineup in 1999after sitting out last season with a knee injury. Ritter played in all 21games in 1997 as a flank midfielder and her experience will compliment thequality that returns from last year. Also looking to contribute to theCavalier midfield will be second year Heather Terry, a local product fromAlbemarle. Heinrichs also welcoms two first-years who should see someaction in the midfield in 1999 in Kelly Worden and Meredith Rhodes. Rhodesis a very versatile player who may see action all over the field. Worden isa two-time Parade All-American and a member of the United States Under-17national team who brings an experienced background in internationalcompetition.
The strength of the midfield will be a good transition into thedefense for the Cavliers, who are losing two starters in the back butwelcome back a starter from 1997. Although both Liz Botta and Karem Estevaare gone, Carryn Weigand returns to the lineup and hopes to regain herstarting form from two years ago. The Defensive MVP from the Coca ColaClassic in 1997, Weigand was a stalwart in the back, totaling 1612 minutes,the third most on the team that year.
Juniors Breanne Smith and Tammy Westinghouse also return for theCavaliers. Smith, who played in all 22 games last year, was a defensivespark off the bench. Smith showed a great offensive presence from herdefensive slot by continuing to make runs that supported the front lines.Westinghouse led the Cavaliers in minutes played with 1998, or 92.5% of theWahoos’ season. Westinghouse was comfortable staying back and supportingthe Cavalier defensive efforts and her consistency was a primary factor inthe Virginia successes.
Sophomore Ashley Meeker brings back a great deal of speed to theCavalier defense. She scored a goal and notched an assist in the 1998campaign and will be called upon again to be a defensive factor for theCavaliers. Meeker was invited to train with the US Under-18 and US Under-21National Teams.
Also looking to support the defense for the Cavaliers are AmandaHildt and Megan Leo, both of whom came off the bench last year. FreshmanBrooke Stastny, a member of the US Under-18 National Team Pool and a formermember of the US Under-16 team will also compete for starting time and herphysical and aggressive play will bode well for the Cavalier defense.
The Cavaliers bolster their defense with an impressive tandem ofgoalkeepers in Megan Boehm and Julie Harris. Harris, who started the first14 games of the 1998 campaign, posted an 8-3-2 record during that time andwas named the team’s most improved player for the season.She won the starting position in the spring with her terrific performancesduring the non-traditional season.
Boehm, a two-time All-ACC selection, will compete with Harris tomind the nets for her final season in the orange and blue. After sittingout the first part of a season with a couple injuries, Boehm returned tothe lineup to post a 1.41 GAA. Already she ranks fourth all-time in careersaves with 137 and her 1.31 career GAA ranks her sixth all-time in schoolhistory. Boehm and Harris will find a solid training partner whowill push them for time in sophomore Ashley Mowery.
Virginia consistently plays one of the toughest schedules in thenation, and the 1999 campaign is no different. Eleven of the teams on theslate for the season advanced to the NCAA tournament last year, includingboth participants in the final match, NCAA Champion Florida and NCAARunner-up North Carolina. Virginia will also take on five of the top teamsin the Mid-Atlantic region in George Mason, James Madison, Maryland, PennState and William & Mary. The Cavaliers will also host two national powersin Stanford and Hartford in the Coca Colas Classic. In addition, the Wahooswill face perennial national power and 1998 national semifinalist Portlandand Southeastern Conference contender Tennessee in non-conference action.All of this on top of grueling ACC schedule, where there could be aseven-team race to win the conference.