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SHSU soccer transfer adds needed defensive depth

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 00:02

Maddie Gangi

Alex Broussard | The Houstonian

Freshman defender Maddie Gangi joins SHSU’s women’s soccer team after transferring from University of Tennessee. Head coach Tom Brown is excited to have Gangi after facing injuries to his defense this past fall.

Madeline Gangi finished her fall season tapered in her orange and white as a University of Tennessee Volunteer, and she will return to an orange and white uniform.

But this time as a Sam Houston State Bearkat.

Gangi joined the Bearkat soccer squad during the winter break, transferring after her first semester at Tennessee.

“[SHSU] is a lot closer to home,” Gangi said. “I really like the campus and the soccer program is really good.”

Head coach Tom Brown had his eyes on Gangi before she signed with Tennessee, noticing her speed to attack upfront as a defender. In her senior season at Frisco Centennial High School, Gangi posted 18 assists, totaling 56 assists in her high school career.

“She creates attacking opportunities,” Brown said.

This past season, Brown suffered because of two injuries to his backline: Colby Glover and Mariah Hadley. The defensive depth chart didn’t go deep, which made the holes on defense apparent.  

The Bearkats finished their 2013 season shy of qualifying for the Southland Conference finals as they fell to league leader Stephen F. Austin State 1-2 in the semi-finals.

When Gangi took interest in SHSU, Brown was quick to get her on his squad.

“When she decided to take a look at us, she was definitely a player that could help us,” he said. “We probably would have gone after her anyways.”

Brown said his desire for Gangi to get use to the team and really build the relationships with her teammates on the field, the way she has off the field.

But Gangi started connecting nine years ago.

Gangi grew up playing with Bearkat teammate Allie Johnson in 2005. The familiar face is making the move to Huntsville and the transition easier for Gangi, she said.

“Her and I work well together,” Gangi said. “We know each other and know how we play. Our communication is really good.”

With a month until the Bearkat’s first spring game, Gangi has been practicing daily to get use to her new team and be game-time ready.

“I want to help the team as much as I can,” she said. “I hope to be more confident on the field and just to play the game I know how to play.”

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