McAdam, Hurricanes Primed to Kick Off ACC Play

Sept. 20, 2006

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Riding one of the best starts in school history, the University of Miami women’s soccer team opens play in the tradition-rich Atlantic Coast Conference on the road Thursday afternoon facing NC State in Raleigh, N.C. at 4:30 p.m. Miami follows up the NC State match with a contest against fourth-ranked North Carolina Sunday in Chapel Hill at 12 noon.

Head coach Tricia Taliaferro and the Hurricanes are 6-1-0 through their first seven games, a mark that has only been previously achieved once at UM. Prior to this season, the only team in UM history to post six victories through seven matches was the 2001 squad, which also started off 6-1-0 and was the only team in school history to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

“Since the end of last season this team has worked extremely hard on building a level of confidence and learning to trust each other on the field,” said Taliaferro. “In years past we’ve had teams that were close, but this team has had the mentality to pull through; specifically in the close games. I’ve been very pleased and I think our confidence level is where it needs to be heading into the ACC.”

UM’s confidence level could not be anymore apparent as evidence by the play of junior goal keeper Lauren McAdam, whose performance on the field has led the Hurricanes to four shutouts.

“Laruen has been great,” said Taliaferro of McAdam. “She has really worked hard on her game and is playing with a great deal of confidence. She has a lot of composure and the mentality and focus she takes into every match has really improved. Along with making the routine saves, she has come up with at least one big save per game, which is what we ask of her.”

One big save per game might be an understatement for McAdam’s play which has resulted in 33 saves and 4.71 saves per game, a pair of figures that rank second in the ACC in each respective category.

“Personally, I’m really not concerned with statistics because everything we’ve accomplished this season has been because of a team effort,” said McAdam. “Since the end of last season, we have really stressed that individual accomplishments don’t mean much; everything we do, we do as a group.”

What McAdam, along the defensive efforts of the UM back line led by senior Kristen Chapman and freshman Jessica Wyble, has done, however, has translated into success on the opposite end of the field.

“When you have someone playing as well as Lauren is, offensively you build a level of confidence which allows you to maybe play higher and take a few more chances,” said Taliaferro.

Those chances have translated into 1.82 goals per game, the highest per game average UM has seen since the 2002 season.

Miami kicks off league play Thursday afternoon facing a tough NC State team that is off to a 5-1-2 start. The Wolfpack have one of the ACC’s leading goal scorers in junior midfielder Jessica O’Rourke who is currently second in the conference in both points (15) and goals (6).

“NC State is a big and physical team and is certainly capable of being one of the best teams in the league,” said Taliaferro. “But that’s what makes this conference so interesting; on any give day any team can beat anyone else. Each game is very important.”

Perennial powerhouse North Carolina boasts an overall mark of 8-1-0 and squares off with No. 2 Florida State Thursday evening in Chapel Hill prior to Sunday’s match against UM.

“On the surface alone, UNC has the tradition,” said Taliaferro. “They are one of the best teams in the country year-in and year-out and have the National Championships to back it up. I think the standard they have set has really raised the bar for the rest of the teams in the league and that has helped make the ACC the toughest conference in the country.”

Knowingly heading into the tough competition presented by each ACC opponent, McAdam and the Hurricanes remain focused.

“We know what we have to do to be successful,” commented McAdam. “We just have to look at each game one at a time and stay positive.”