Much like any other year, graduation usually takes a pretty big bite out of any college athletic program. In the case of Geneva’s women’s soccer, graduation was responsible for taking the school’s all-time leader in shut-outs and the person who was undoubtedly the team leader throughout her career. With Lauren Londino and her 26 career shut-outs gone, the Golden Tornadoes will have to turn the page into a new era of goalkeepers and a new era as an active member of NCAA Division III and the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
Geneva finished the 2010 campaign with an overall record of 10-8-3 including its third consecutive trip to the NCCAA East regional tournament. For the third straight season, the Golden Tornadoes saw their season end at Roberts Wesleyan in the regional finals. This year, Geneva will set its sight on its first opportunity to compete for a PAC title. “We have enjoyed some success,” says fourth year head coach Linda Sumner. “We have to be prepared for a very challenging conference schedule as we finally have a chance to compete against the PAC in matches that truly matter to both teams.”
Geneva opened the 2010 season with an 11-game unbeaten streak as it roared out of the gate with an 8-0-3 record. Unfortunately, the Golden Tornadoes had their troubles against PAC competition with a record of just 2-7 against conference foes. “We realize how good some of these teams in the conference will be and we must pick up our game if we want to compete with the best the conference has to offer.”
While Geneva will have a new face patrolling the nets in 2011, the offense will feature its leading scorer from a year ago in junior Maura Allen. Allen posted 11 goals and a team best 23 points in 2010. Additionally, Rebecca Shaw, who posted four goals and nine points, will also return to the midfield. Shaw is one of five seniors that will be the backbone of the 2011 Golden Tornadoes. Annissa Halulko, Julie Collins, Kathryn Wiater and Nancy Paul will be called upon for their production on the field and their leadership off of it. “I am very excited about this senior class,” says Sumner. “They have all worked extremely hard for this program during their respective careers and have set a great example for the rest of the team. Hopefully all that hard work and dedication will pay off for them and for our program during the season.”
The majority of Geneva’s experience returning for 2011 is on the back line, but the Golden Tornadoes will also be welcoming some fresh faces to the fold for the upcoming campaign. A total of seven freshmen will be putting on the Geneva jersey for the first time including goalkeeper Sara Mittner. Mittner may have some large shoes to fill in her first season as she replaces one of Geneva’s all-time greats. “Putting a freshman directly into the fire is not exactly a perfect scenario,” says Sumner. “We obviously would love to have some experience back there but what better way to gain valuable experience than to get in there right away. We know there will be a learning curve and a transitional period, but we are confident in Sara making that transition.”
The Golden Tornadoes will again look to jump out of the box quickly in 2011 but will hope to maintain that momentum into October for the start of conference play. “It’s an exciting time for Geneva and for our soccer program,” says Sumner. “We want to make an immediate impact in our first year as an eligible contender in the PAC. It will be fun watching our young players mature and follow in the footsteps of an amazing senior class.”