July 15, 2017

Women’s soccer breakdown: Forwards

By Jordan Shim–

In the latest edition of the breakdown of the women’s soccer team, TLC will cover the forwards. The defense will keep the team in the game, but it will be on the forwards to win it for them.

Expected starters:

Sophomores Brooklynn Rivers and Sarah Feola and senior Kaela Dickerman.

Strength: Depth

All of the contributing forwards from last season are back. As a result, coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes has six forwards who are capable of contributing. On top of that, this year’s recruiting class is filled with quality that will hope to impress and attempt to play their way into the team.

Having a deep group may give Ferguson-Dayes a headache when picking the starting 11, but it allows her to be flexible. For example, if she needs a direct play-style, she can go with Rivers, Dickerman, and Arianna Ferraro. If the defense is aggressive, she can opt for a more technical lineup with Ferraro, Feola, and Allison Whitfield.

Another benefit of the depth is the competition in practice. Pushing one another away from game time will increase player development.

Weakness: Lack of a prolific scorer

The Cards played to first half of the season as well as they could, leading to a 6-2-1 record and a top 25 ranking. They were unable to carry the momentum into conference play.

A big reason for the letdown was a lack of a go-to scorer. With no player to carry to weight of the team, Louisville only scored eight goals in their ten conference games, winning just one game.

No player on the team scored more than five goals. And they were stifled in ACC games as scoring chances dried up. No player finished the season averaging two shots per game.

Player to watch: Brooklynn Rivers

The Fort Thomas, Kentucky, native led the Cards in scoring as a freshman with four goals. Her size makes her a problem for a defender to take on alone. And she has the technique to dribble past players to create scoring chances.

Rivers will need to be more consistent, however, if the Cards are going to win games, particularly in the ACC. As addressed in the weakness of the team, they need someone to be more assertive. Ferguson-Dayes will rely on Rivers to lead the attack again.

Photo by Jordan Shim / The Louisville Cardinal

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