Sophomore goalkeeper Jackie Mauro has been instrumental in the early success of the women’s soccer team (5-4). She has 60 saves thus far in nine games, which isn’t bad considering that last year she amounted a total of 86 saves all season.
“She’s a lot smarter this year,” head coach Seamus McWilliams said.
“She’s much more patient and reads the game well. She’s still very aggressive, though, and she has this ‘come and get me’ attitude which makes her very dangerous.”
Mauro, who came from ArchBishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia, is a broadcast major with a full soccer scholarship.
She hopes to get into the entertainment business, meet different people, spend time in Hollywood, and eventually become involved in television.
Although a career as a professional soccer player isn’t quite out of the picture yet.
“It all depends on whichever one gives me more opportunities,” Mauro said.
“Broadcasting is my goal, but if [the Women’s United Soccer Association] offered me something…it would be a tough decision.”
Playing since she was about five years old, Mauro first started playing the forward position.
Then, around the age of 12, her father moved her into the net where she has remained ever since.
“Basically, he made me stay in goal. I miss the glory of scoring goals, but I find [saving goals] more fun,” Mauro says.
During high school she played for the Olympic Development Program, a team culminating of the best players in the state, for five years.
For her impressive collegiate debut last season, Maurowas named 2001 Temple women’s soccer Rookie of the Year.
In the summer, she played in a women’s 23-league, an amateur league set up for women 23 and under.
Her team, Council Rock, won its State Cup Division and went to the regionals, where they won a few games.
Many of her current teammates played with her on the Council Rock team.
This season, she has been training with first-year assistant coach Kaitlin Glass, who was a former coach at the University of La Salle.
She works on fitness and uses smaller balls to quicken her reaction time.
Most of her training is just fine-tuning her skills.
“She’s an all-around keeper and a great athlete,” Glass said.
“She’s definitely one of the best in the A-10.”
Mauro’s amazing athletic talents were showcased on Sept. 22 in the Owls game against St. Francis.
With 10 saves, most of which were from one-on-one breakaways, Mauro led the Owls to a 2-0 shutout win, impressing all in attendance.
“She really put on a clinic in that game,” McWilliams said.
But a good goalie knows that it isn’t just her out on the field protecting the net.
The defense is a key part to any team, and the Owls are no exception.
Mauro has worked diligently with her defense and feels comfortable working with them.
“She’s very confident in the defense and they all have a great relationship,” McWilliams says.
However, against nationally ranked teams, such as North Carolina State and no.16 Virginia, a strong defense can fall victim to an even stronger offense.
The Owls were defeated 7-1 and 8-1 in the NC State and Virginia games, respectively, despite Mauro’s combined 22 saves in net.
McWilliams remains optimistic, though.
“While [the NC State game] did give a poor reflection of our team, most of those goals were lucky. The score could have been 17-1 if not for Jackie and the rest of the defense,” McWilliams said.
“These games give the girls a chance to play at the higher level that they all want to be at.”
Mauro says her only weakness is mental.
“If I make a mistake or if a goal goes by I get really down on myself and then it’s hard for me to get back in the game right away,” she said.
Mauro looks forward to the upcoming game against La Salle.
“I’ve played with a majority of the players and it’ll be nice to see them and see how much better they have gotten,” Mauro said.
McWilliams believes that a great amount of pressure is put on his goalie’s shoulders, and she knows it and accepts it.
That’s good, considering Mauro’s played at least 90 minutes of every game so far this season.
The pressure and fatigue has yet to get to her.
Steve Papurt can be reached at Baby.firstname.lastname@example.org.