Soccer looks to return to NCAA’s

The 2002 women’s soccer season may have ended sooner than the Hurricanes would have liked, but the future looks awfully bright for the upstart program.
The team will only lose six seniors to graduation before the 2003 season begins in the fall. One of those seniors leaves a major void to fill.
Rachel Elsby, a microbiology major, was their starting goalkeeper and a leader on and off the field. Elsby spent the season balancing her time between working towards her Ph. D in Immunology and minding the net for the ‘Canes. Without Elsby the team will be looking for someone else to step up as a leader.
A perfect candidate to guide the young Hurricanes to the top of the Big East is forward Britney Butcher, who was voted the team’s Offensive Most Valuable Player after leading the ‘Canes with 34 points, including 16 goals and a pair of assists.
Butcher set single season records for most goals and points in a season. The junior also set career records in goals (24) and points (58).
In her first year as head coach, Tricia Taliaferro led the squad to a 9-9-1 overall record, with a 4-1-1 record in Big East competition. The only sour note in a productive season was the fact that the ‘Canes lost in the Big East quarterfinals to Rutgers, ending their shot at a conference championship.
The team made tremendous strides during the spring season. Taliaferro was very pleased with what she saw out of her unit.
“I was very happy with the performance over the spring season and I felt that everyone contributed in helping us achieve our goals,” Taliaferro said. “The team trained and played at a very high level. We not only saw growth and development as a team, but each player made improvements and commitments on an individual level.”
The head coach noticed a few of the young players standing out during the spring.
“The whole team really embraced the new philosophy I brought to Miami and made a smooth transition,” Taliaferro said. “I am excited to see players like Michelle Provenzano, Britney, Andrea Radice, and Vonda Matthews really take their games to a new level in such a short time. I can’t say enough good things about our spring training.”
Radice hopes to build on the goal and two assists she had during the Big East tournament and carry it over to next season.
Jessica Keller most likely will take over for Elsby in the net. The sophomore will rely on a much-improved defense to protect her from being bombarded with shots.
The team is thrilled about the recent signings of four highly touted recruits. The ‘Canes have brought in two goalies to back up Keller in Lauren Alford and Jessica Stegman, as well as forward Julie Brooks and midfielder Shannon Sanguinetti to bolster the Hurricane attack.
Taliaferro is poised and ready to take her nucleus of returning starters and younger talents and make a run at the Big East title.
“We’re very excited about the upcoming season,” Taliaferro said. “I think this core group of players coupled with the incoming freshman will make it interesting next fall. I can’t wait to see what happens.”