Women’s Soccer Ready for NEAC Quarterfinals
October 30, 2012
By John Boccacino/Sports Information Director
Winners of five of its last six contests, the Keuka College women’s soccer team is a confident bunch heading into Wednesday night’s North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) quarterfinal with Penn State-Harrisburg.
The Storm (8-6, 8-4 NEAC) earned the No. 6 seed and will face Harrisburg (12-6, 10-2), the tournament’s No. 3 seed, in a 6:30 p.m. contest at the Net Sports Complex in Palmyra, Pa.
Keuka had posted five straight shutouts and did not surrender a goal for nearly 500 minutes before Saturday’s regular-season finale, a 6-5, overtime setback at rival SUNYIT.
During that stretch, the Green and Gold has outscored the competition 35-6, with senior Nicole Sharick (Corfu, NY/Pembroke) and junior Jessica Bandrowski (Center Moriches, NY/Center Moriches) leading the way on offense.
The Storm have outscored the competition 53-31 in 2012, including 28-12 in the second half, as 10 different student-athletes have netted goals.
Sharick, a three-time All-NEAC forward who with 56 career goals has become Keuka’s all-time leading scorer, has scored 15 of her NEAC-leading 22 goals during the Storm’s last six games. She broke her own mark for goals in a season and is currently second among all Division III players in goals per game (1.57).
The play-making Sharick, who has handed out all five of her assists over the last five games, has scored a goal in nine of the Storm’s 14 games and leads Keuka in goals (22) and points (49) and is tied for the lead in assists (5). She’s the NEAC’s leading goal and point scorer, and she ranks eighth in Division III with 22 goals.
In every game Sharick has scored, she’s had at least two goals, including a three-goal gem during a 4-1 road win over Gallaudet University on Sept. 23.
Bandrowski has been nearly as red-hot as Sharick, with the talented midfielder ranking second on the team in goals (18) and points (41), and tied for the assists lead with Sharick (5). She has netted a goal in each of the Storm’s last eight games.
In earning the NEAC’s co-Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week, Bandrowski scored five goals with one assist as the Green and Gold wrapped up the sixth seed in the upcoming NEAC tournament.
In her first year playing college soccer, Bandrowski ranks 11th in the nation in goals per game (1.29), and has six multi-goal games this year. She ranks fourth in the NEAC in goals scored, and fifth in points, and is tied for 27th in Division III in goals scored.
Bandrowski, who was also selected Keuka’s Female Athlete of the Week, scored three goals in a game for the first time in her Keuka College career as the Storm blanked Morrisville State 6-0 Tuesday afternoon.
Facing SUNYIT in the regular season finale, Bandrowski scored twice, but the Storm suffered a 6-5 overtime loss to finish sixth in the NEAC standings.
The Storm will look for revenge when they face Harrisburg, as the Nittany Lions handed Keuka a 6-1 setback on Sept. 22. The Storm trailed 2-1 early in the second half before Harrisburg scored four times to pull away.
Head coach Jamie Burke said the Storm have evolved into a different team from the one that lost at Harrisburg in late September.
The biggest difference between that Storm team and the one that enters NEAC’s on a 5-1 roll is the chemistry that has developed between Sharick and Bandrowski, said Burke.
Those two potent playmakers had nine goals between them during the first six games of the year, but have contributed 31 goals between them in the eight games since.
“Harrisburg passes much better than we do, but we have the speed up top with Nicole and Jessica,” said Burke, in her seventh season leading the Storm.
“Jess and Nicole have become very comfortable playing with each other, they have a great feel for where the other is on the field and it’s starting to get really fun watching those two play together. I believe we have the top two players in the conference, Jess and Nicole are playing unbelievably well right now.”
Burke said one key is scoring early. If Keuka can take an early lead, Burke can turn her attention towards protecting the advantage, bringing both Sharick and Bandrowski back on defense to provide valuable defensive help.
Harrisburg enters postseason play having won five of its last six. The Nittany Lions outscored their NEAC opponents 53-12 while Keuka outscored the NEAC competition 51-20.
Fourteen different student-athletes have scored goals for Harrisburg, led by Lyndsay Naughton (17G, 4A, 38 points), Fay Ansary (10G, 2A, 22 points), Nikki Francis (8G, 3A, 19 points) and Rachel Shetler (7G, 3A, 17 points).
Defensively for the Storm, juniors Brooke Lovell (Arkport, NY/Arkport), Britni Burch (Arkport, NY/Arkport) and Christine Dedes (Shortsville, NY/Red Jacket) join senior Shelby Seeley (Livonia, NY/Livonia) and freshman Nina Fusco (Mechanicville, NY/Mechanicville) in providing stability in the back end of the pitch.
Midfielders Sarah Capek (Elmira, NY/Horseheads), Stephanie Havens (Unadilla, NY/Unatego) and Haley Jordan (Auburn, NY/Auburn) have also helped in the defensive zone while assisting the transition game, too.
Sophomore Marriah Gough (Oneida, NY/Stockbridge Valley), in her first season starting in goal, has stopped 73.8 percent of shots and is allowing 2.28 goals per game.
The defense will need to be prepared as it goes up against a Harrisburg squad that scored 66 goals, the second-most in the NEAC, while surrendering 33.
“Our game with SUNYIT was definitely the best game we’ve played all year,” Burke said of her Storm, who scored all five goals on breakaways.
“Our defense needs to be better. When we can stay with our marks and put pressure on teams, we keep them from scoring. But we have moments where we lose focus on our marks and give the other team too much space. We don’t have the speed to let them go by us, so our defense has to clamp down. Harrisburg is a good team, but if we just play good defense, we can beat anyone in the conference and this is a good matchup for us.”