Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
After missing the 2010 Centennial Conference playoffs on a tie-breaker, a retooled Swarthmore College women’s soccer team is looking to re-establish itself as a Centennial and regional power in 2011.
Head coach Todd Anckaitis enters his seventh season as head coach of the Garnet coming off a 2010 season that saw the squad hand Centennial regular-season champion Dickinson their lone Conference loss, defeat NCAA participant and CAC Champion, Stevenson University, and play non-conference foe and nationally-ranked Eastern to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in a lightning-shortened game. But the challenge for Anckaitis and the Garnet will be replacing six seniors that accounted for 84 goals and 57 assists over four years and served as the foundation of Garnet teams that captured three consecutive ECAC Championships (2007, 2008, and 2009). Thanks to the return of six starters in key positions and a talented class of newcomers, Anckaitis and the new-look Garnet are confident that the young team can return to the program’s recent dominance in the region.
The Garnet had 15 players with points in 2010 and will need to get production from every position again in 2011 to pick up the graduated scoring talent. The 2011 squad will be without Megan Colombo’11 ( the 2010 Centennial Conference Player of the Year and the program’s all-time leading scorer), Kirsten Peterson ’11 (the programs’ all-time assists leader) and Hannah Purkey ’11 ( the unsung engine for the Garnet formation). Helping to fill the big void are skilled sophomores Megan Brock and Aly Passanante. Each will be asked to lead the Swarthmore attack after three goals apiece as rookies last year. Veteran midfielders Hannah Deming ’12 and All-Centennial selection Alexa Ross ’13 will provide leadership as well as scoring. Deming is the active leader in goals, points, and game-winners for the Garnet.
The Garnet defense will miss the physical Laura Bolger ’11 and creative Elizabeth Mills ’11, but junior Ari Spiegel will anchor a re-worked back line along with steady senior Sam Song who found herself back in the lineup last season after being out with season ending injuries her first two years. In goal, Marie Mutryn ’12 returns between the pipes with a stellar 23-9-3 career record. She is already third in program history with 11 shutouts. The Garnet held opponents to an average of only 5 shots on goal per game and will look to bring an equally tenacious approach in the back in 2011.
Swarthmore faces one of the most challenging schedules in all of Division III women’s soccer in 2011, featuring several NCAA-caliber non-conference games and the typically grueling Centennial slate. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by battle at perennial national-contender Messiah on September 3 in the Messiah Classic. The Falcons went 24-1 in 2010, falling in the national championship game and outscoring their opponents 117-5. Swarthmore hosts Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial Conference and home-opener on September 17. The home slate is highlighted by an October 1 tilt under the lights against Johns Hopkins on October 1. Swarthmore concludes the regular season at rival Haverford on October 29.
2011 Centennial Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Johns Hopkins (9)……….99
2. Dickinson (2)…………..85
8. Franklin & Marshall……..39
10. Washington College……..19
11. Bryn Mawr……………..12
Reprinted from August 25th with permission from the Swarthmore Athletics website, here.