UM Women's Soccer Has Bright Future Ahead for 2009
April 10, 2009
Building on a berth in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, the Miami women’s soccer team is upbeat and positive of the road that lies ahead. The Hurricanes will welcome 10 new freshmen to join a team who will only be losing a small handful of key players including Jordan Ross, Corynn Carino, and Rachel Rigamat.
“We are very excited about our incoming group of players. On paper, they are by far the best group of freshmen we’ve had. I say that with them joining the best group of returning players that we’ve had in awhile”, said Associate Head Coach Jeff Freeman.
Freeman has been with Miami for five seasons and was recently promoted to his current position earlier in the fall.
The UM women’s soccer team is one that represents a strong mixture of dedication to athletics and academics. The 2008 squad featured a record five players to the most recent ACC All-Academic Team, including sophomores Brittney Macdonald, Brittney Steinbruch, and Lauren Singer, senior Corynn Carino, and freshman Julianne Rickers. The nominations were the second for Macdonald, Steinbruch, and Singer.
“It is just a dedication for our whole team. We have a team goal for GPA. I personally just work really hard in school and know all of my teammates do as well. It is something my coaches and parents encourage and really push for”, said the sophomore forward Steinbruch, who was honored as the ACC Freshman of the Year following her performance in the 2007 season.
Steinbruch, despite battling injuries this past season and missing significant time, led her team in goals (8) and total points (16) and has emerged as a true team leader for the Hurricanes.
Macdonald is another player who had a stellar 2008 campaign in her role of anchoring a stingy defensive unit. Macdonald, a sophomore, was a former Colorado state champion playing for the Real Colorado club in 2006. She led all off Miami’s position players in total minutes this past season with 1,965 and was also one of six players to start all 22 matches.
Macdonald is a Pre-Medicine student at Miami and with that comes a lot of dedication and time consumption mixed in with practice. “We spend five hours a day around here with training, rehabs, and treatments. So when doing schoolwork, I just remain focused so I can get things done and move on. It is the final goal in the end, so you just need to keep your eyes on that”, said Macdonald.
Junior Beverly Goebel has played two seasons with the Hurricanes after transferring cross-country from Sacramento State University. Goebel flourished in the Big Sky Conference with Sacramento State but was looking for something more. She was determined to find a school that not only fit her comfort zone, but also challenged her academically and in her collegiate soccer career.
“I wanted to challenge myself to see how good I can be and I felt like I can do that with an ACC team. After I was recruited to come here, I didn’t even have to question it. The tough competition was something I wanted to put myself through and see what comes of it and how much I can help my team”, said the junior midfielder.
After her first couple of seasons, she has really lived up to the tall task of being a student-athlete in a tough conference for women’s soccer.
“I want my team to expect me to show up each time and play with heart. I am going to do what I have to do with maximum effort so nobody has to worry”, added Goebel.
One of the biggest surprises for the Hurricanes this past season was freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo. Alonzo was named to the Third-Team Freshman All-American squad by the Soccer Buzz staff for her performance in net. She shattered the previous UM school record for shutouts in a single season with 11, eclipsing the old record of six. Her 11 shutouts were best in the ACC as well as her 114 total saves.
The young goalkeeper from Carrollton, Texas credits much of her success to Coach Freeman and seventh year Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro.
“The coaches helped me with my distance and form with goal kicks. They helped me with power-diving as well. They also taught me to always stay composed in net. Getting adapted to college soccer from high school and club soccer quickly could get a little tough”, said Alonzo.
Ashlee Burt was another player who really opened up some eyes this past season. In just her first season with the Hurricanes, Burt started all 22 games due to her hard work ethic, which she points out as a common ground between her and Coach Taliaferro.
“Tricia and I have a lot of the same mentality aspects like being a blue collar worker; just working really hard, and doing whatever that has to be done to become a better player and a better team overall”, stated Burt.
Burt, who has a family legacy in UM Athletics, is shaping to become a team leader down the road. Her father, Jim Burt is a member of the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame for his All-American status as a standout football player at Miami from 1978-1980. Her older brother, Jim Jr., was an All-American baseball player for Miami’s 2001 National Championship team.
“I tend not to think about it so much. I feel like I am separate from them, but I want to try to achieve more than both of them although that may be kind of tough. I would love to win a national championship for my dad like my brother did”, stated Burt.
Danielle Bidegain, a freshman from San Diego, Calif., also played a significant role for the 2008 squad. Bidegain, who played defense this past season but soon will be making a transition to forward come the fall, logged the second most minutes only behind Macdonald with 1907.
“I want to get adapted to the new position, moving from defense to primarily forward. It will take a lot of training this summer to adapt well and quickly. As a team, we just want to play at a consistent level and we want to stay strong throughout the season to get us past the first round of the NCAA Tournament”, said Bidegain.
Along with a wealth of talent and a strong academic background as a team, UM soccer has also been heavily involved in the local Miami community. Over the past year, various players have given their time and efforts to help out with organizations such as the Miami-Dade PAL (Police Athletic League) Clinic, the South Miami Soccer Clinic, Fit to Play, ran by the Miami-Dade Parks Department, and later this month, they will be involved in Habitat For Humanity on April 18 and 25, an organization that assists in building new, affordable homes in the local area.
Next fall, the team will welcome a very promising group of freshmen to add to an already solid group of returning players packed with proven talent. Their involvement in the community and self-motivation in academics display the perfect mix for a successful student-athlete at the University of Miami. The drive and motivation has been very apparent to Coach Taliaferro and Coach Freeman.
“They are a pretty self-motivated group. They are very goal oriented group. With the competition, they want to be in the Final Four, they want to win a national championship”, added Freeman.
The team will pick up their practices again during the summer before they open up their 2009 campaign on August 28 against Ball State at home in Cobb Stadium.