Emory: the best season ever
By Emory Sports Information
The 2012 Emory University women’s soccer season proved to be the most successful one in the program’s history, as the Eagles made a run all the way to the NCAA Championship game, finishing as the National Runner-Up and ending the season with a 15-2-7 overall record.
Emory head coach Sue Patberg was named the NCAA Division III Coach of the Year by D3Soccer.com after leading the Eagles to the best season in the program’s history. Emory’s defense once again ranked among the best in Division III, and was led by junior center back Lauren Gorodetsky, who was named the Defender of the Year by D3Soccer.com and the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the NCAA Championships. Gorodetsky was also selected to both the D3Soccer.com and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America First Teams.
Entering the NCAA Championships with a record of 11-1-6, Emory stormed through the early rounds of the tournament with a pair of 2-0 wins over DePauw University and then seventh-ranked Centre College in the first two rounds in Danville, Kentucky, followed by a 2-1 win over the 19th-ranked Loras College in the round of 16 in Pittsburgh, PA. In the quarterfinals, Emory played 17th-ranked host Carnegie Mellon University to a scoreless tie, before winning a thrilling 13-round shootout by an 11-10 score to advance to the NCAA Semifinals for the first time in the program’s history. Emory sophomore Jennifer Grant buried the game-winning penalty kick in the 13th-round, following a Carnegie Mellon shot off the post, and senior goalkeeper Kaele Leonard made a pair of saves in the shootout.
In the semifinals in San Antonio, Texas, facing Wheaton College (Ill.), then ranked 11th in Division III, the Eagles and the Thunder both played a scoreless first half. However, Emory would explode for two goals in quick succession, with sophomore Emily Feldman converting a rocket shot for an unassisted goal in the 64th minute, and Gorodetsky striking a perfectly-placed free kick over the goalkeeper’s head from 35-yards out in the 67th minute to give the squad a 2-0 lead. Wheaton would score moments later to bring the score to 2-1, but Emory’s defense would hold on for the victory, writing the Eagles’ ticket into the NCAA Championship game.
The title match would prove to be a rematch of the Eagles’ opening game of the season, where Emory handed top-ranked Messiah College its only loss of the campaign with a 2-1 overtime win. Exactly three months to the day later, the Falcons jumped out to a 1-0 first half lead with a goal in the 21st minute. The Eagles would come out firing in the second half in an attempt to even the score, outshooting Messiah 9-4 in the final 45 minutes, but would be unable to notch the equalizer, finishing the 2012 campaign as the national runners-up, the best finish in the program’s history and the 30th second-place or better finish in the history of the Emory Athletic program.
In addition to Gorodetksy’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors at the 2012 NCAA Championships, junior outside back Lauren Drosick and sophomore outside back/midfielder Kaelyn Lucas were each named to the all-tournament team. Feldman scored four goals during her six tournament games, setting a new program record for the most goals in a single postseason, and matching Emory’s career NCAA Tournament goal record.
Emory ended the year ranked second in both the final NSCAA and D3Soccer.com polls. Of Emory’s program-high 24 games during the year, eight came against teams ranked in the top 10 of the last NSCAA poll, with a record of 2-1-5 in those contests. Eleven of the Eagles’ games during the year were against teams ranked or receiving votes in the final top 25 poll, with the team going 5-1-5 overall in such games. Emory matched a program record with four wins during the month of November, previously set during the 2009 season.
The Eagles finished with a 3-1-3 record and tied for third in the University Athletic Association (UAA), a conference that would see four teams qualify for the NCAA Championships, with each reaching the quarterfinals, and comprising four of the top-eight teams in the final NSCAA rankings. The Eagles’ only setback of the 2012 regular season came at New York University on October 28th, a 1-0 loss with under 90 seconds left in the second overtime period. The defeat ended an incredible 40-game regular season undefeated streak for the Eagles (dating back to October 9th, 2010), the longest active streak at the time in Division III women’s soccer.
For her efforts in conference play, Gorodetsky shared the UAA Most Valuable Player honor with Anna Zambricki of Washington University (Mo.), marking the second-straight season that the Eagles’ center back has claimed the honor. She became the first Eagle to repeat as the Most Valuable Player, and just the fifth UAA player ever. Gorodetsky, who was the only active player to be named to the UAA 25-Year Anniversary Team, was also named to the all-conference first team, along with junior forward Veronica Romero, while junior midfielder Kelly Costopoulos, Feldman and junior midfielder Greta Jochmann earned second team honors, and Drosick and Leonard were chosen as honorable mentions.
Emory’s defense finished the year ranked 13th in Division III with a .461 goals-against average and 30th with a 0.583 shutout percentage, while limiting opponents to 7.1 shots and 3.6 shots on goal per game. The Eagles’ starting backline of Gorodetsky, Lucas, Drosick and senior co-captain Ashley Kaiser helped the squad record 14 shutouts during the season, tied for the second-highest total in school history, two behind the school record set in 2011. Senior goalkeepers Erica Stein and Leonard time in goal, combining for a 0.86 save percentage, the 33rd-best mark in Division III during the season. Leonard, an all-UAA honorable mention, finished the campaign ranked 13th among D-III keepers with a 0.459 GAA, and 38th with a 0.86 save percentage.
While the defense set the tone for the squad, the offense also recorded a historic season, setting a new program-best mark with 535 shots, demolishing the previous record of 421 set during the 2000 campaign. Emory also registered the third-best point total (166), the fourth-most goals (54), and the second-most assists (58) in school history, each the highest total by an Eagle squad since 2001. Emory’s seven ten-point scorers were the most by the squad since the 2002 season, and one shy of the school record of eight (set in 1995), and Emory registered three players with 20 or more points for the first time since 2003 and the sixth time overall in school history. The Eagles’ offense averaged 2.25 goals per game, the 101st-best mark in the country in 2012.
Emory’s offense was spread out among a number of different players throughout the season, with Feldman (eight goals, four assists), Romero (eight goals, four assists) and sophomore Charlotte Butker (five goals, 10 assists) each finishing tied for the team lead with 20 points, while Costopoulos added a 19-point effort (eight goals and three assists) and a team-best four game-winning goals (ranked 86th among Division III players). Butker finished the year ranked 42nd in Division III in assists and 101st in assists per game, while senior Lee Bachouros’ seven assists were the 132nd-most among D-III players in 2012. For their efforts during the year, Costopoulos was named to the all-South Atlantic Region First Team, while Romero earned a Third Team honor.
The historic season for the Eagles continued an incredible three-year stretch for Emory, during which the squad has gone 48-5-13, including marks of 8-3-2 in NCAA Tournament games and 10-3-10 against teams ranked in the top 25. Emory’s senior class of Lee Bachouros, Merrill Bachouros, Kaiser, Katy Kruse, Leonard, and Stein finished their careers with a record of 56-10-18, the most successful four-year stretch in the program’s history.