Cagle Reflects on Successful Soccer Season
2003 season review: Hokies tie school record for wins
November 3, 2003

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech's women's soccer team concluded its first season under coach Kelly Cagle last week, and Cagle believes her first year in Blacksburg was a success. Now that the season is passed, Cagle and her staff are prepared to make 2004 even more successful.

The Hokies finished the 2003 season 9-9-0 and 2-4-0 in the BIG EAST, tying the school record with their nine wins. The Hokies also had several highlights in their first year at the new Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium, including a thrilling home-opening 3-2 win against American and the team's first-ever win against in-state rival James Madison.

"I think if nothing else, we're still hungry, which is the exciting part of this season," Cagle said. "We tied the record for most wins in the history of the program - up from six last year - so I think if we don't get excited about what we did this year, it's sort of all for naught. There were a lot of positives, and now we just have to try to continue to be a winning program with a winning mentality."

The 2003 team had six seniors, including three players who finished their careers ranked in the top 10 in career scoring, goals and assists. Cagle knows replacing the talent of the senior class will be a tough task, but believes in the program's ability to compete at the highest level next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"We are going to come back next season with a mix of young and old and just try to do what we can to be one of the very best teams in the ACC."

Seniors Jessica Myers, Kathy Holdsworth and Emily Barnhart were the undisputed key factors in the Hokies success on offense in 2003. Barnhart netted a team-leading nine goals and finished her career ranked first in all-time goals (24), assists (13) and points (61). Myers concluded a prolific career as the Hokies' scoring leader in 2003 with 21 points. She had seven goals and seven assists and finished her career ranked second in all-time assists with 12. She ranked fifth with 17 career goals, and ranked third in all-time scoring with 46 points. Holdsworth wrapped up her four-year career ranked third with 19 career goals and fifth with 41 career points. The trio accounted for 23 of the Hokies' 31 goals in 2003.

"You really can't ever truly replace anyone, and certainly these six are going to be missed, but we've already started thinking about next season. We are going to have to do it without them. We might miss their points on the board the most, but the current group is excited and driven to take us to the next level."

The 2003 season started in August as a mix of freshman and seasoned veterans greeted Cagle. Taking a team that that had posted just six wins in 2002, Cagle transformed the Hokies into an early contender. By September 11, the Hokies were 4-1 with wins against American (3-2, double overtime), James Madison (3-0), Marshall (3-0) and Miami University (2-0). The win over JMU marked the first Hokie win against the Dukes in 11 tries. The Hokies came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat American in the home opener.

"I think the American win sort of catapulted us into the early part of season. We did very well in the early part of our season, and I think a lot of it came off that win," she said about a match where the Hokies were down 2-0 after the first six minutes. "Initially going 3-0 at home was a super way to open our new stadium. Being at home was something we took pride in, and we gave back to our fans, especially in the early part of the season.

"Some things happened this year that had never happened before, including the JMU win. I just wish we could have finished our season as strong as we started it."

While the team closed out the year going 4-8, it wasn't because the Hokies gave up. Five of those setbacks were by just one goal. The Hokies also claimed wins against St. John's (3-2), Liberty (2-1), Radford (2-0), Old Dominion (2-0) and Providence (1-0).

Cagle admitted that the 2004 team must come back with an even stronger desire to succeed.

"I think we were blessed to be playing in a such a good conference like the BIG EAST, but I think we must also realize that we need to come back with a different mentality. Our athletes are going to need to start dedicating their lives even more to make an impact on this program," she said. "The coaching staff is going to continue to recruit tirelessly to find people who want to make this place special. I have no doubt it will happen."

The Hokies have several faces slated to return next season, including five regular starters and the team's starting goalkeeper, Mallory Soldner. Soldner performed solidly in her initial season, finishing with six shutouts and a 1.40 goals against average.