Wednesday, September 05, 2007

McCarty, St. John's Have A Lofty Station to Protect
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, September 5, 2007; E10

St. John's (D.C.) girls' soccer coach Manny Villafana has an uncommon way of judging just how good his college-bound soccer stars really are.

"You can always tell how good a player is by who [the college] rolls out when they go to visit," Villafana said.

Two-time All-Met and all-American senior forward Tiffany McCarty passed Villafana's test after legendary football coach Joe Paterno greeted her at Penn State and Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden did his part to help sway the 16-year-old into committing to the Seminoles this summer.

McCarty is a member of U.S. under-17 women's national team and helped the semipro Washington Freedom to the W-League title this summer. In high school play, she has 153 goals and 59 assists in three seasons, leading the Cadets to three consecutive 20-win seasons and a No. 1 national ranking entering this season.

"In the history of our school, we are the first team ever to be ranked number one in the country, so that's a big burden on our shoulders," McCarty said. "We don't want to be known as the team that thinks they are number one and not perform."

McCarty's goals: go undefeated in the regular season, win this weekend's McDonogh tournament and help St. John's regain the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. The Cadets won the WCAC in 2005, but lost to O'Connell on penalty kicks in last season's final.

McCarty will have the help of 20 returning teammates and all but one starter from a squad that went 22-5 in 2006. Eleven players are members of the Olympic Development Program and two of the six players who are expected to sign with division I programs are not even starters.
"I want to win a WCAC championship," McCarty said. "It's my senior year, I have nothing else to give."

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