Seniors Bid Farewell to the College Pitch
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) head women’s soccer coach Nick Flohre called senior Cassie Smith “arguably the greatest offensive player in the history of EKU soccer” after she played her final game as a Colonel this fall. She notched 21 career goals and six career assists and, remarkably, never missed a game in her college career—playing in 75 EKU games since the start of the 2013 season. In her final season, she tied the single-season record for game-winning goals (four) and broke the all-time program record for goals (21). She netted seven goals in 2016, tying both her previous season best and the former single-season record. You can read more about this "quiet star" HERE
At the end of senior Meghan DiPippa’s last season as a Hawk, the Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) women’s soccer team clinched the Atlantic 10 regular season championship for the first time in program history. To top it off, they captured that historic title on Senior Day, October 27. A bulwark of SJU’s back line, DiPippa played in 77 games over the course of her career, starting in an astonishing 73 of those matches. Despite playing as a defender, she managed to rack up two goals and one assist as a Hawk.
Senior Kara DeGuisto, a versatile contributor to the Elon University women’s soccer team for the past four years, logged 66 games in her career, starting a little more than half of those contests. She played along the back line and in the midfield, notching an assist in her final season as a Phoenix.
Christopher Newport University senior Kate Hurlock transferred to play with the Captains as a sophomore, taking the field for 55 games in her three seasons at CNU. She ended her collegiate career with a bang: For the first time since joining the league in 2013, the CNU women's soccer team won the Capital Athletic Conference championship in 2016. CNU went as far as the second round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship before their stellar 2016 season ended.
Juniors, Sophomores & Freshmen Make Significant Contributions
The bulk (31/38) of TF alumni currently playing college are in either their second or third year of school, with just three freshmen hitting the pitch for the first time in 2016. The year also saw four TF alums on the bench, recovering from various season-canceling injuries. Several players had standout years and we will highlight a few of those performances here:
Playing at St. John’s University in her second season, sophomore Samantha Scaffidi earned a regular spot with the Red Storm, starting 19 of the 20 games in which she played. It was an honor well deserved, as she scored four goals (three of them game winners!) and added two assists during the season. Scaffidi was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll after the Red Storm’s dramatic 1-0 defeat of DePaul University on October 15. Here’s how it was described in the team’s press release: “Scaffidi tallied her third goal of the season in the 70th minute after dribbling her way through three defenders and sending a right-footed shot into the bottom left corner for a sensational goal.” Her teammate (and another former TF player) Madeline McCracken was close behind, starting 13 out of 19 games in 2016 and adding an assist.
Left to Right: Sophomores Rubii Tamen (Amherst), Sara Wilson (in pink for Florida), and Katelyn "KJ" Jensen (Maryland).
Sophomores Jarena Harmon and Katelyn "KJ" Jensen both started out on a new team in 2016, transferring to the University of Maryland from Pittsburgh and Kentucky, respectively. Harmon was a breakout star for the Terps on offense. She scored eight goals, which ranked second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten. She earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors (the first-ever Maryland player to do so) after a hat trick against William & Mary. You can read a profile of Harmon HERE. Jensen occupied her customary position between the posts for the Terps, starting 8 of the 12 games she played, her season circumscribed by an injury.
Over at George Mason University, junior Jenna Hamilton and sophomore Becca Callison helped the Patriots to a winning season that included several nail-biter games. Hamilton started 14 of the 21 games she played in, notching three goals. And Callison added one goal (a game winner) and three assists in 18 games.
Kasey Martino, a junior at Randolph-Macon University (R-MU), started 17 of 17 games for the Yellow Jackets in 2016, adding one goal and one assist. Martino is a core player at R-MU and heads into her senior year as a team leader.
Junior Hanna Hannesdottir continued her streak as a stalwart for the Pittsburgh Panthers, starting 17 of 18 games in 2016. The lone goal she scored on the season was perfectly timed: it was the game winner.
Amherst Women’s Soccer got the full measure of sophomore Rubii Tamen’s talents in 2016. Tamen started in every single one of the team’s 21 games, scored eight goals (two of them game winners) and added a whopping five assists. Amherst won the NESCAC Conference and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship.
Sophomore Alisa Holloway shone as a sophomore at Texas Southern University in 2016, starting 10 of 19 games and scoring two goals (one of them a game winner).
A total of four former Total Futbol players played for Virginia Tech in 2016: Kristina Diana, Laila Gray, Alia Abu Hawa, and Caroline Kerns (not shown).
Junior Laila Gray continued serving a key role for the Virginia Tech Hokies, starting 15 of 19 games, scoring one goal and dishing out four assists Meanwhile, sophomore Kristina Diana ramped up both her playing time and bottom line contribution significantly from her rookie season, starting in 10 of 18 games, scoring two goals and assisting on two more. Diana ultimately tied for fourth on the team in scoring and tallied 32 shots on the year, placing 10 on-goal. Alia Abu Hawa continued her solid play in defense, starting 11 of 13 matches for the Hokies.
Sophomore Sara Wilson increased her playing time for the Florida Gators, one of the nation’s top teams and the SEC Tournament Champions in 2016. Unfortunately, Wilson was injured partway through the season, but not before she had played in 12 games, starting four. The Gators went on to advance to the 3rd round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championships.
Mia Gyau had a spectacular freshman year at Duke, consistently one of the highest performing women’s soccer teams in the nation. She played in a total of 23 games, starting six and adding one goal and one assist to the record books in 2016. Duke advanced the farthest of any team with a TF player on the roster in 2016, making it to the fourth round of the Division I NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. For her stellar performance as a rookie, Gyau earned a spot as one of Top Drawer Soccer’s Top 100 Freshmen players for 2016.