2017 SEASON OUTLOOK
The Wesleyan University women's soccer team is prioritizing a return to the NESCAC Tournament for the first time since 2013, as the squad will open its 2017 fall season with a three-game homestand starting against UMass-Boston on Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Middletown, Conn.
The Cardinals will begin conference action on Tuesday, Sept. 12 with a 4:30 p.m. showdown against Tufts on Jackson Field, and will hit the road for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 16 for a noon start against Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine.
Overall, Wesleyan's schedule features 15 games, 10 conference tilts, eight home games and seven road contests. The most difficult piece for the squad to overcome will be filling the void left by Sarah Sylla '17, as the forward led the team in goals (five), points (11) and game-winning goals (two) in 2016.
Fourteenth-year head coach Eva Meredith, who has the most wins in program history with 62, has raised the bar for the soccer program, leading the team to six consecutive postseason appearances from 2008-13. The squad posted three winning seasons from 2008-11 and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament in 2011 and 2012.
Wesleyan lost a well-rounded, five-person senior class at the conclusion of the 2016 season, including Victoria Matthews, Anne Coyle, Carly Swenson, Chrissy Gonzalez-Gandolfi and Sarah Sylla. However, Meredith believes the Cardinals are in good hands moving forward with a young roster, featuring six first-year players and three transfers.
MEET THE TEAM
- Wesleyan has 17 returning players and nine new faces, as the squad is comprised of one senior, 11 juniors, eight sophomores and six freshmen. The nine newcomers consist of freshmen Shannon Sweeney, Carly Bechtloff, Emily Ribatt, Camila Rodlauer, Gianna Argento and Zoe Oasis, sophomores Julia Meehan and Allie Goss, and junior Kayla O'Brien.
- The Cardinals return a great deal of experience in net with Hanan and sophomore Zoe Cassels-Brown. Cassels-Brown started seven games and saw action in nine contests during the 2016 campaign, leading the team in goals-against average (1.31), save percentage (.821) and shutouts (two). Hanan appeared in five games, starting a pair, as she boasted a 1.33 goals-against average and an .800 save percentage.
- Wesleyan's junior class will largely dictate the success of this journey. The unit is headlined by Mo Nelson (two goals and one assist in 2016), Olivia Gorman (one goal, one assist) Meg Harrop (one goal, one assist), Ella Sinfield (one goal, one assist), Sophia Linguiti (one goal), Goetzman and Yost. Harrop and Yost were the only two Cardinals to start all 15 games in 2016, as Harrop netted the game-winning tally during a 5-0 triumph over visiting Saint Joseph (Conn.) on Oct. 12. Other key returning juniors include Nicole Galli (one assist), Liz Young and Maya Harlan.
- The Cardinals will look for even more production from sophomore Nicole Brodkowitz, who started 14 games during her rookie season, compiling two goals, one assist and five points. Katie Frizzell (one assist), Nola Neri (one assist), EV Vann and Mackenzie Mitchell account for the rest of the returning sophomores.
HEAD COACH EVA MEREDITH
"If we can manage to stay healthy; we have more depth on this team than we have ever had. We only have one senior in goalkeeper and tri-captain Meg Hanan and the rest of the classes are evenly divided.
The junior class is very talented, led by junior captains Lauren Goetzman and Kinsey Yost. I am hoping this will be their year to elevate the performance of this squad. The team worked diligently out of season, and I believe it will pay off early this fall when getting on a winning path is important."