KATONAH, N.Y. South Salems Maddy Haller, a graduate of The Harvey School, is poised to play her senior season at Duke University with an eye on another strong year.
Haller and her Blue Devils mates are the favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference title and are ranked No. 2 behind Stanford in the preseason soccer polls after losing in the National Collegiate Athletic Association title game 1-0 to Stanford.
Preseason 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 was a Hudson Valley Athletic League All-Star for Harvey and is a key member of a Duke defense that boasted 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, Haller said.
Haller said high expectations can lead teams to looking past the regular season to the postseason.
This team has always done a great job of keeping everything in perspective, Haller said. 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.
Duke, 22-4-1 overall last year, returns all 11 starters, including Haller and four other seniors.
My entire class is looking at this season as our last chance to do something big, she said. 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 soccer on Friday at William and Mary.
From a report submitted by Chris DelCampo, Harvey School director of communications.