McDaniel is gunning for a fifth consecutive trip to the Centennial Conference women’s soccer tournament, and coach Sandy Lagana likes how the Green Terror have played over the first month of the season.
After a loss in their opener against St. Mary’s in late August, the Terror won six games in a row and posted four shutouts along the way. They came into Wednesday’s home match with Gettysburg ranked 10th in the latest United Soccer Coaches Mid-Atlantic Region poll.
Five other Centennial teams joined McDaniel in the poll, and Gettysburg was one of them. The undefeated Bullets left Westminster with a 1-0 win, and added another victory in their lopsided all-time series with the Terror. But Lagana and her players said they’ll learn from the defeat.
“We’ve just got to respect every opponent, because every single opponent in the Centennial is good,” said Lagana, a South Carroll High School graduate (Class of 2000) who is in her eighth year as McDaniel’s coach. “The message really [was] ... now it’s time to perform. I thought we played well, I thought we played well enough to win. We just didn’t win today.”
Lagana has helped build the Green Terror into contenders since she arrived on the Hill in 2012. McDaniel has five Centennial tourney appearances under Lagana, and three consecutive NCAA Division III berths (2015-17). This year’s squad features only five seniors — defender Jackie Farenholtz and midfielder/forward Allie Titus are the captains.
Junior midfielder Maddie Schwartz leads the team with 10 points (five goals), sophomore forward Hannah Schepers has eight (three goals, two assists), and senior midfielder Megan Henderson has six (two, two).
Eleven Terror players have one or more points so far this season.
That balance has lifted McDaniel’s offense, but Farenholtz said the team’s success stems from players being able to flow around the field.
“We have of different players that can do a lot of different things, and can fit in different positions,” Farenholtz said. “That’s something that we haven’t really practiced in the past. The formation we play allows us to be a little more fluid.”
McDaniel kicked off its Centennial schedule Sept. 21 with a 1-0 win over Ursinus, with Schwartz netting a second-half goal. Gettysburg struck first Wednesday when Erika Muskus received a pass inside the box from Isabel Klatt and converted from close range.
The Bullets held off a second-half charge, and won for the 27th time in their 37 meetings against McDaniel.
“Being a Centennial team, you always have to be ready,” Farenholtz said. “You have to be on your game. You have to come out fiery, wanting to win. Not that we didn’t, but I think it took us a little while to get going today.”
Schepers had five shots on goal to lead McDaniel, and sophomore goalie Katherine Carstensen had two saves.
Carstensen has a 76.9 save percentage, and has played every minute for the Green Terror this season.
“They’re just working hard. Tactically, we’re able to do more this year,” Lagana said. “We’re a little bit older than we were last year. We’ve got the pieces to continue to have a really great season, and that’s the goal. It’s just putting it all together, and putting it all together in big games like this.”
Johns Hopkins (second), Dickinson (fourth), Swarthmore (sixth), Haverford (eighth), and Gettysburg (ninth) are the other Centennial teams in the latest regional top 10 poll, and McDaniel gets one of them later this week at home.
Swarthmore is the two-time reigning conference champion.
Coming up a little short against Gettysburg can’t sit with the Green Terror for too long, Lagana said.
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“We were playing out butts off, but in the end time is really against you,” Farenholtz said. “You have to want it more than the other team. We can’t let this one get us down, because we have Swat Saturday.”