Freshman sensation has early success

Click to see article: (Photo by Brooke Marsh)
photo by brooke marsh
Julia Suarez’s relentless attack on goal is the main catalyst for her early success for the women’s soccer team. (Photo by Brooke Marsh)

For the women’s soccer team, the UCI Road World Championships have been a blessing in disguise, putting a halt on a daunting schedule that has plagued the Rams in the early portion of the season. Fortunately for VCU, a 5-foot-4 freshman from Woodbridge, Virginia has given coach Lindsey Martin a reason to be optimistic.

Julia Suarez, a freshman forward from C.D. Hylton high school has been the lead goal scorer for the Rams this season. With a record of 2-6-1, the Rams have struggled finding the back of the net, only scoring 11 goals in nine matches — six of which came in their latest win against Mount St. Mary’s University.

The Rams are absent from competition until Oct. 1 and this break gives them a chance to get back to the basics and regroup before going into Atlantic-10 play. Suarez, who has only nine matches to her collegiate career, understands her learning process has to be expedited in order for her team to break out of its offensive woes.

“I definitely want to increase my goal total,” Suarez said. “I’ve had chances, but I need to put them away now.”

Suarez has become the go-to option for the Rams. Her touch around the box has lead to 38 shots on goal in nine matches. For a freshman this is a testament of true promise moving forward.

Drawn to VCU by the coaches and players, Suarez made her decision to become a Ram with the mindset of being an instant impact.

“I really liked the coaches and toured the campus and it was perfect,” Suarez said. “I watched the team play a few times and during my official (visit) I met some of the girls and they were really nice.”

Like many freshmen ready to make a lasting impression on their teammates, Suarez added she was full of nerves and anxiety during the summer practices. But she was ready to accept the challenge, Suarez said she knew she was capable of thriving at VCU and set a personal goal to obtain playing time in her first season.

“My goal was to just get playing time and start from there,” Suarez said.

Martin, not shy of throwing freshman in the fire early, granted Suarez her chance to produce in the first match of the season — VCU’s first goal of the season was initiated by the Woodbridge prodigy.

“The first game (Old Dominion),” Suarez said. “The first game of the season I realized I connected with the team in the position I was in.”

Martin’s intuitive decision to put Suarez in the game early has paid huge dividends for the Rams. She is at the helm of the offense and she should be. Suarez was named the A-10 rookie of week for her efforts in the win against Mount St. Mary’s and stalemate against the University of Pennsylvania.

Suarez totaled 18 shots on goal in the two contests for a 4.22 shots/game average. That places her third in the A-10 for shots per game and her 38 total shots on goal are first.

For VCU to turn its season around, Suarez will have to maintain and improve to kick-start the production from the offense. But for this week, Suarez will get to settle down and enjoy life as a regular college student. An avid superhero movie lover, she has time to enjoy some of her favorite movies, like “Superman.”

“Soccer comes easy to me, I don’t really have to stress as much,” Suarez said. “Having to do the schoolwork makes it challenging, but the tutors help a lot so what VCU has to offer is beneficial.”

VCU’s next match against Davidson College commences A-10 play. Suarez is confident her team is ready to come out of the break and turn the season around. The Rams will depend on Suarez for goal-scoring opportunities, mainly cashing in on the opportunities presented.

“I feel like everything is coming along (soccer-wise) and I just need to put on a show,” Suarez said.

Sports Editor, Bryant Drayton

bryantBryant is a sports advocate thats always smiling. He is a senior print and online journalism major aspiring for a career as a professional or college football columnist. Bryant currently covers high school football games for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

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