The Sporting Insider: Women’s Soccer is Workin’ It

Webster University Sports Editor Josh Sellmeyer
Josh Sellmeyer / Webster University sports editor

I’ll be the first to admit that when the Webster University women’s soccer team lost all-time greats Christy Capkovic and Megan Niederschulte to graduation last year, I didn’t give the 2011 squad much of a chance to do something amazing this season.
I mean, c’mon, it wasn’t going to be easy to replace the combined 32 goals and 21 assists that Capkovic and Niederschulte recorded a season ago. Those two are sure-fire Webster Athletics Hall of Famers and very easily could (frankly, probably should) make the SLIAC Hall of Fame as well.
The duo started all four years for coach Luigi Scire and rewrote the Webster women’s soccer record books. Coming into this season, I wondered how Scire and the Gorloks would respond to no longer having Capkovic and Niederschulte to rely on.
Well, Scire brought in a ridiculously loaded freshman class and the team’s veterans have stepped up to fill the scoring load vacated by Capkovic and Niederschulte. Webster is off to a solid 6-3-1 start, and the Gorloks are 1-0 in SLIAC play. I wish I could say I saw it coming.
The Gorloks aren’t bulldozing through teams, and they’re not winning by getting into scoring fests with teams. Rather, Webster is finding ways to win by playing smart, defensive soccer and capitalizing on their goal scoring opportunities.
Webster has scored only 14 goals in 10 games this season, an average of 1.4 goals per game.
Compare those numbers to last year (63 total goals in 20 games for a 3.08 goals per game average), and it would be hard to believe that Webster has a better record 10 games into the 2011 season than they did 10 games into the 2010 season (Webster was 6-4).
How? It’s all about the team’s defense. In soccer, goalkeepers are often the ones mentioned in stories because they’re the ones who get the stats, like shutouts, goals against and saves.
No question about it, the tandem of goalkeepers Brittany Senator, Shelby Wade and Jessica Davis has been phenomenal for the Gorloks this season.
But it’s the team’s defenders and midfielders — those who are seldom mentioned because they don’t have glowing stats next to their names — who deserve much of the credit.
Senior defender and co-captain Izzy Sherfy is the driving force of a Gorlok backline that has allowed a paltry seven goals for a 0.68 goals against average so far in 2011. Kristen Muehlenfeld and Amy Schield have been reliable all season for the Webster defense.
What makes the Gorloks’ fast start this season all the more impressive is the fact that the team has had to deal with several injuries to key players.
Junior defender Caroline Schmidt is out for the season with an ACL tear and an LCL sprain, which she sustained in the team’s fourth game of the season. Schmidt has been a starter and defensive anchor for the Gorloks since the very beginning of her career.
Center midfielder Katie Aubuchon has missed five of the team’s games with an injury. Wade has played in only three games, while Sherfy, Schield and forward Kortney Luaders have also missed games due to injury. Sophomore forward Amy Raimondo has yet to play in a game this season.
Despite the obstacles the women’s soccer team has faced, the Gorloks appear poised to make a run at a SLIAC championship and potentially more. With Capkovic and Niederschulte not scoring goals for Webster for the first time in four years, who on earth foresaw that happening?

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