Katonah - South Salem native and 2009 Harvey School alum, Maddy Haller and her teammates on Duke University’s women’s soccer team are “looking forward to another amazing season.” Last year, Duke made it all the way to the final game in the NCAA championship but lost 1-0 to Stanford.
This year Duke is the favorite to win the ACC and has been picked in the NSCAA pre-season poll as #2 in the nation behind last year’s winner of the college cup, Stanford. “Pre-season polls mean little if you cannot back them up when the season gets started,” Haller said “I think this team is ready to get playing and show how much hard work we have put in since the end of last season.”
Haller, a senior at Duke, said “getting such high preseason rankings makes it hard not to want to skip automatically to the end of the season.” But she believes the high pre-season rankings will not cause the team to lose focus. “This team has always done a great job of keeping everything in perspective. We take one game at a time, realizing the most important game is the next one we have to play. Right now that means looking at our opening game against William and Mary, and seeing it as the first opportunity to prove what we are capable of.”
Haller, an HVAL All-Star when she played soccer for The Harvey School, is a key member of Duke’s superb defense which recorded 16 shutouts last season. She will play left outside back and has spent the summer polishing her soccer skills. “In order to prep for this season I worked hard developing my left foot more and increasing my speed of play.”
Duke, 22-4-1 overall last year, returns all 11 starters, including Haller and four other seniors. Haller said there is some added pressure for the seniors on the team. “My entire class is looking at this season as our last chance to do something big. We have put so much work into this program over the last three years that it is hard to imagine it'll be over after this season. We as a class are going to put everything we have over the next few months into making sure that this is our best season yet!”
Duke opens it 2012 campaign on Friday, Aug. 17 at William and Mary.