Women’s soccer built for success in future years
Michael Riccio – Sports Editor
The women’s soccer team fell to two seed Southern New Hampshire 2-1 in double overtime in the NE10 quarterfinals last Tuesday. The Owls wrapped up their season at 9-10 and 8-6 in the conference and were the seven seed in the conference tournament.
The 2018 season turned out to be a strong bounce back year for the Owls. Coming off a season in which they finished with just two wins, their lowest in program history, the Owls rebounded to qualify for the conference tournament.
This year was highlighted by a five-game win streak in the middle of the year that improved the Owls to 8-3 and 7-1. It was their longest win streak since the 2014 season. However, the Owls ended the year losing seven of their last eight games.
With just three seniors on the team, the Owls relied a lot on younger players or underclassmen during the year. Johanna Wahlen, a junior, lead the team in goals with five, while Kelsey Burr and Kaitlyn D’Amico, both freshmen, have added three goals each. Meaghan Kelley, a sophomore, and Greta Brunello, a freshman, were the only two other players to score multiple goals this year.
At the goalkeeper position, the Owls relied on Abigail Allen and Tamra Zippin, both freshmen. Allen finished the year with four shutouts, which helped the Owls rank in the top five in fewest goals allowed in the NE10 with 22.
Five players were also recognized by the NE10 with their end of the year awards. Paula Nunez Escobar, a sophomore defender, received Second-Team All-Conference honors while Whalen was honored with a Third-Team All-Conference. Brunello, D’Amico, and Burr were named on the All-Rookie team for their performances this year.
The Owls will graduate just three seniors this semester; goalkeeper Allie Smith, and midfielders Juliana Santos and Mikaela Magee. With the Owls not having much experience on the roster, it is impressive for them to turn around and have a strong season so quickly. Head coach Adam Cohen did a good job recruiting players to Southern in order to build a playoff team.
The type of year puts the team in great position going forward. They were able to make the conference tournament after finishing with two wins in the prior year, get strong contributions and college game exposure for their freshman and returning players, experience success and winning with their strong start to the year, and learn from their struggles at the end of the year while playing in a postseason game.
The Owls can build off their early season success and build off their conference tournament game while taking another step forward to keep building towards a championship team.