Preview: Women's Soccer Seeks Return to Playoffs

Monday, August 26, 2013
 

Four is a significant number in the life of Susan Galgano. She plays on the back four of the Muhlenberg women’s soccer team, which earned the fourth seed in the Centennial Conference playoffs last season. She is one of four senior captains on the 2013 Mules.

And she is a quadruplet, one of four sisters who will be graduating college next spring.

Susan Galgano
Galgano was the only Mule to start every game in both 2011 and 2012. Muhlenberg allowed only 41 goals in those 37 games, and Galgano was named to the CC Sportsmanship Team both seasons.
One of those sisters, Catherine, wears the same number (27), plays the same position and is also serving as a team captain at nearby Lafayette, which opened up its season with a win yesterday. Muhlenberg begins against Brockport State at Wilkes Friday night, and when all is said and done, Susan and her fellow seniors hope to end their careers with twin playoff appearances.

“The four captains think it’s going to be a really good season,” said Galgano. “We’re connecting really well, and everyone is very dedicated. We have a lot of talent; we just have to learn how to utilize it.”

The Mules learned how to utilize their defensive talent in last year’s 8-9-1 campaign, setting a school record by allowing only 14 goals and tying a mark with five consecutive shutouts. After the first game of the season, the only opponent to score more than one goal against the stingy defense was eventual national champion Messiah.

Galgano, at center back, is one of three returning veteran starters on the back line. She is joined by senior Stephanie Tramutola and junior Krissy Fioretti, both of whom have been fixtures in the starting lineup for the last two years.

Amanda Wong
Wong was unscored-upon in her last 285 minutes last season, recording shutouts in both of her starts against CC foes.
Muhlenberg also has two returning starters at goalie. Senior Amanda Wong started the first three games of the 2012 season before suffering an injury. Her replacement, sophomore Francesca Cobuzzi, wound up leading the CC with a 0.36 goals-against average in league games.

The offense is a different story. The Mules scored only 22 goals (13 of which came in three games) and graduated their top two goal-scorers. Third-team all-region and first-team All-CC senior midfielder CJ Graetzer is the only returning player who scored more than two goals last year, netting three.

“We’re going to try to score more goals this year,” said Galgano with a smile. “The speed we have on the outside will really help us in the attack. We’ve been focusing on passing, creating open space and moving to the ball. I think once we play a game and know we can do it, the goals will start coming.”

While junior veterans Colleen Touhey and Leah Messler will look to start up the offense in the midfield, the team will turn to younger experienced players for quickness and improved production. Taylor Pini (2 goals, 2 assists), Nicole Karsch (2 goals, 2 assists) and Megan Nehila were three of five freshmen (along with Cobuzzi and back Gabriela De Frutos) to start at least eight games last season.

“I see improvement in every one,” said Galgano of the sophomore class. “A lot of times freshmen are timid and don’t want to make mistakes. They’re more confident this year.”

And that gives the Mules – who were three 1-0 losses from an undefeated CC season last fall – confidence that they can have another playoff season.

“We have a lot of potential. We’re so close,” said Galgano. “We’ve been working hard in the preseason, and if we keep working like that throughout the whole season, we’ll do a lot better.”