Bullets Shut Down Blue Jays Women’s soccer: First years make impressive debuts on the field

Gettysburg College’s Women’s Soccer was selected to finish fourth in the Centennial Conference based on the conference preseason poll. Photo Credit: David Sinclair, GC C&M

Gettysburg College’s Women’s Soccer was selected to finish fourth in the Centennial Conference based on the conference preseason poll.
Photo Credit: David Sinclair, GC C&M

By Maddie Brown, Contributing Writer

The Gettysburg College Women’s Soccer team beat Elizabethtown College 1-0 Saturday, to make a 2-1 record for the start of the season.

With a scoreless first half, the Bullets had to fight to earn a victory in the last half hour of play. Four starters were absent from the field Saturday, making for new formations all around.

Gettysburg outshot Elizabethtown 16-6 and earned its second shutout of the season with sophomore Kiera Loftus in goal.

The lady Bullets finished the 2015 season with a record of 7-2-1 in league play, yet they were eliminated by Ursinus College in a penalty shoot-out at the Centennial Conference Championship. Coach Matthew Garrett is entering his tenth season as head coach of the team, and Riley Piechnick, a 2016 graduate of Loyola University, will assist him. This year’s young squad is thirsty for revenge, with new strengths, a new formation, and a new focus.

“Preseason was pretty short this year, but we definitely made the most of it,” said junior back Maddie Heaney.

In previous years the soccer team arrived to campus two weeks before classes started. This year, however, the girls had only 5 days to prepare for their first scrimmage. Coach Garrett even had to omit the fitness testing from the training schedule to accommodate for lack of preparation time. Luckily, the girls took the change in schedule to work on their skills individually. Coach Garret remarked that this year’s first year class arrived to preseason more in shape than any class before them had.

Speaking of the first years, they are what constitute a large portion of this youthful team. 14 first years joined the squad while only four seniors remain representatives for their class. The captains are senior midfielders Hannah Theurer and Julia Ramsey who have had injuries throughout their collegiate careers and have prevented these seasoned veterans from playing time. Coach Garrett sees them both as quiet leaders who lead by example, but the junior class, which includes five regular starters, step up the vocals.

“They have really started to buy into the Bullet mentality, the program; they ‘get it’,” said Coach Garrett.

“The freshmen have really stepped up in a big way,” said Heaney. “On and off the field they add something great to our team.”

Of the 14, many have seen playing time already. First year Tatum Lareau scored from the defense to earn the only goal Saturday. Two others first years, Brooke Priddy and Isabel Klatt could also be looking at considerable playing time this season. Additionally, three newcomers are goalies, replacing the loss of two from the 2015 squad.

The Bullets had a phenomenal run last year, but they have lost some great talent, such as forward Lauren Schapiro and the Centennial Conference Player of the Year, goalkeeper Eliza Gray. Only three players who started the final game of last season started in the most recent game. Thus, Garrett has decided to use a 4-2-3-1 formation, with focuses on quick passing, combinations, and “possession soccer” to try out the new dynamics.

“We changed into a formation so that we can attack as a whole team and get numbers up,” said Heaney. “We are definitely much more attacking minded this year.”

The girls are most looking forward to their games against Swarthmore College Oct. 8 and Johns Hopkins University Oct. 29. The Pheonix are already 5-0, ranked #2 nationally, but the Bullets aim to redeem a 0-1 loss in league play last year.

The Lady Bullets visit Ursinus College Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:00p.m.

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