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Moving from defense to offense pays dividends for Alexa Quaranta and UMBC

Alexa Quaranta was recruited by the UMBC women’s soccer team as a back. So seeing her play the forward position sometimes causes a double take.

And Quaranta, a sophomore, is still surprised at the position switch.

“I started off as a defender,” the Baltimore native and Perry Hall graduate said. “I was not expecting to be pushed forward, but you’ve just got to do whatever your team needs you to do. It’s exciting to see us winning games and just to be scoring.”

Scoring has rapidly become Quaranta’s forte. Her first-half tally in the top-seeded Retrievers’ 2-0 victory over No. 4 seed Hartford at Retriever Soccer Park in Catonsville Sunday was her team-leading eighth of the season.

Quaranta, who also leads the offense in points with 17, uses her speed to her advantage, outracing defenders to 50-50 balls. Coach Leslie Wray said Quaranta has blossomed in her new role.

“Alexa is so creative on the ball, and she’s a fantastic dribbler,” Wray said. “We knew this last year. There were times in games in the last 15 [minutes] when we needed a big push because we were either tied or needed a goal, and we’d throw Alexa up top. It was more rushed than we would have liked … and it was kind of her strung out on her own. I think after the first game this year, when she was the left back and we were playing Mount St. Mary’s, we weren’t getting the attack we wanted.

"We had a good defensive presence in the midfield and in the back, and we needed some speed up there. We needed someone who was a good dribbler. [With] Alexa’s work rate, she doesn’t let up. She’s constantly going at it, and she’s a great team player. Having that as a threat up top is dangerous for any team. To have to go against someone who know is faster than you and is technically better than you and is good at finishing, there’s no reason she shouldn’t be up top."

Quaranta, who led Perry Hall in scoring in her senior year with 12 goals and 17 assists, said she is still getting acclimated as a player asked to score goals instead of impeding them.

“I’ve definitely had to work on a few things,” she said. “Just my runs and learning how to play forward because it’s much different from defending. But I’m a lot more comfortable just because I’m getting used to it.”

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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