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The 2014 season was one of change and rebuilding for the Hollins soccer program. New head coach Robin Ramirez entered his first season with many obstacles to overcome. One of the most successful senior classes in program history had graduated. The team entered the season with very few returning players, and no sizeable first-year class to fill the void. After beginning the 2013 season with ODAC Tournament expectations, the 2014 team started play with a completely different set of goals.
Hollins hit the ground running. With a small roster, conditioning and health were going to be major keys in rebuilding the program. Hollins started with three straight non-conference matches before their annual showdown with arch-rival Sweet Briar College. After the first three games, it was evident that Hollins would face an uphill battle all season long.
Senior Bonnie Jo Blevins was the only returner on defense. She anchored a young and inexperienced unit that would see plenty of action throughout the season. Blevins anchored the defense and left her three-year spot on the back row to patrol the midfield for a Hollins squad that needed help after losing all of their goal scoring from the previous year. Sophomore Christina Havrila and first-year Jhovanna Salmeron were a pair of bright spots for the Hollins offense. Both young players brought speed and athleticism to the Hollins midfield and are both poised to have solid careers in the green and gold.
Sophomore keeper Megan McKee and her defensive teammates found themselves under siege most of the season. Despite an early season injury, McKee enjoyed a record-setting campaign in net. The Madison, Alabama, native not only led the ODAC in saves, but made more stops than any other keeper in the nation. McKee posted 11 double-digit save games during the season. Audrey Haisley picked up three starts in net and registered a pair of double-digit save efforts.
Despite their record, the Hollins soccer team made great strides with a very young and inexperienced roster. Losing just two seniors will allow Coach Ramirez to return most of the players and have a chance at a full recruiting season to help build on this season’s efforts. Expect a new-look Hollins team to take the field next fall as the returning group will be deeper and more talented.
New head coach Robin Ramirez assumes the reigns of the Hollins soccer program after a successful tenure at Eureka College in Illinois. Coach Ramirez will be faced with the tough task of replacing a graduating class that had seen more success in a Hollins uniform than any in recent memory.
The team will rely heavily upon its starters on the defensive side of the ball. Defender Bonnie Jo Blevins '15 will anchor the Hollins defense as the only returner in the back line. Blevins will be looked upon to mentor her new defensive partners as she enters her third season as a starter. The one place Hollins will not have to count on a newcomer is in net. Megan McKee ‘17 returns in goal after a stellar first-year campaign that saw the Madison, Alabama, native rank second in the conference with 129 saves in just 14 games played. Hollins will only return three other players from last year’s squad: Christina Havrila '17, Elizabeth McGrady '16, and Emily Dodson '16 will bring 31 games' worth of experience to a very green Hollins roster.
Hollins faces a challenging schedule as the young team will play three matches in the first week of the season. After a trio of non-conference matches, Hollins will jump into ODAC play with their annual matchup against archrival Sweet Briar College on September 13. Hollins will then face their lone remaining non-conference foe before finishing the season with 11 straight match-ups against ODAC competition.
The 2014 season will be a learning experience for the Hollins soccer team. They will gain seasoning throughout the year and look to build a foundation on which the program will grow to new heights in the future.