St. Mary's Ryan helped spur Rutgers' rise

Alumni Report

November 02, 2005|By BILL FREE | BILL FREE,SUN REPORTER

Meghan Ryan, a former St. Mary's standout, said trust is what helped carry the Rutgers women's soccer team a long way this season, far past a 4-9-1 start and into the Big East Conference quarterfinals.

"We trusted each other," said Ryan, a redshirt sophomore, referring to the team's defense. "We didn't yell at each other. If someone made a mistake, it was no big deal. We felt very comfortable."

Six consecutive victories, which included five straight shutouts, lifted the Scarlet Knights into the quarterfinals, thanks in large part to the 5-foot-8 Ryan, who was considered the leader of the defense.

The team's run ended Sunday in the quarterfinals against host and top-seeded Connecticut, which won on penalty kicks, 4-2, after the teams had battled through a 1-1 regulation tie and two scoreless overtime periods.

Ryan said none of the defenders was hesitant about making a mistake because "we knew that even if you make that one mistake, we'd always have your back and cover for you."

Ryan recently was chosen the Big East Defensive Player of the Week, as she led a back line that sparked shutouts of Cincinnati and Louisville during the week of Oct. 20-26.

Ryan said she is "110 percent" after suffering two anterior cruciate knee ligament injuries before college. The first injury caused her to miss her senior season at St. Mary's; the second occurred the summer before she enrolled at Rutgers and led to her redshirt freshman season.

"Coming back from the two ACLs, I had to work two, three times harder than everyone else," she said. "I didn't want to sit out anymore. ... I had to stay after practice - an hour, hour and a half - work out and do extra running. I just knew that if I kept doing this, everything would work out."

Tops in blocks

Kentucky redshirt freshman Queen Nzenwa (Kenwood) leads the volleyball team in blocks (1.33 a game) and is third in kills (2.33) after back-to-back, 3-0 Southeastern Conference victories over Mississippi State and Mississippi over the weekend.

Nzenwa had nine blocks and seven kills in the weekend sweeps that raised the Wildcats' record to 15-7 overall and 8-4 in the SEC.

Leading the way

Forward Andrew Wheeler (Patapsco) is the top scorer for the York College soccer team with 12 goals and four assists, followed by fellow sophomore Chris Ports (John Carroll), who has nine goals and 10 assists.

Wheeler has four game-winning goals, and Ports has three.

Contact Bill Free by e-mail at bfree7066@hotmail.com or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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