Fresh kicks

by Beacon Staff • September 20, 2006

The team was prepared to open its season at Clark University Sept. 3 but was forced to wait until Sept. 6 to begin play.

"[The first game] will most likely not be made up.,While wet weather cancelled its first game, Emerson's women's soccer team didn't let that rain on the players' parade.

The team was prepared to open its season at Clark University Sept. 3 but was forced to wait until Sept. 6 to begin play.

"[The first game] will most likely not be made up. The schedules don't coordinate for both of us to play it," said Lions Head Coach Jason Tassinari.

Instead, the team held its season opener at home against Lasell College Sept. 6 and picked up its first win of the season with a 5-1 victory.

"It was a great feeling, winning the first game," said freshman midfielder Kim Douglas, a visual and media arts major. "The intensity was a lot higher than in high school games."

The team, with 25 players, began tryouts Aug. 24, and the current team's core was founded throughout the first two weeks of practice.

"We had a few walk-ons and a few players that weren't aware of the preseason," Tassinari said, "but for the most part, the current team has been here since the beginning."

The team practices six days a week, sometimes receiving an extra day off for exceptional work earlier in the week. Due to recent injuries, the team has been spending slightly less time on the field.

"We have such amazing talent, but so many of our players are injured," Douglas said. "The injuries will hurt us later in the season."

The team also spends time together off the field, holding team dinners and outings. Tassinari invited the team to his home in Plymouth for a cookout during the preseason.

"It's important to build team chemistry; it brings the team closer, which is an underlying factor. Thankfully, our team has great chemistry," Tassinari said. "The team is a close-knit group, especially the freshmen."

Tassinari said he had no reservations about recruiting such a large freshman contingent this season.

"The seven freshman have each made an impact in their own way, and to point out any one as being better than the rest would do a disservice to them," Tassinari said. "We have a tremendous young class of freshman this year."

Members of the team have recently picked up conference honors, with junior forward Casey Whelan being named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 9.

Freshman Kendra Davidson was named to the GNAC Weekly Honor Roll for the same week.

Tassinari pointed out that every game matters in league play this year, and wins against division powerhouses may help boost the team's GNAC standings.

Though the team played well against Wellesley College Sept. 13, it lost 1-0.

"I emphasize that the most important game is the next one. Simmons is a big game in our conference, and St. Joseph's, but they're big because those are teams that usually finish ahead of us in the standings," Tassinari said. "[The game against] Wellesley was not conference play, but it was a big game. We may have lost, but we played well, and that's what's important."

Douglas said Wellesley proved to be a formidable opponent.

"Wellesley is such a strong team physically, and they're good at stringing together passes," he said. "They won't let up on you. We gave them a run for their money, and I don't think they were expecting that."

It did not take long for the Lions to get back into the win column. Any bitterness for the Wellesley loss was taken out on a thoroughly over-matched Albertus Magnus team. The result was an 8-0 thrashing by Emerson, and the team's first win in conference play.

However, the team's next two opponents did not roll over so easily. At home against UMASS Dartmouth on Sept. 18, the Lions played to a hard-fought, 3-3 draw.

Then, yesterday, on the road against Western New England College (WNEC), the Lions lost their second game of the season, 4-1. It was a tough defeat and a reminder that the team still has a long way to go before they can be mentioned among the conference's elite.

With a .500 record both overall (2-2-2) and in the GNAC (1-1-1), the lions have put themselves right where they need to be with a little less than a third of the regular season already completed. The team will host a conference opponent Simmons college Saturday at 1 p.m. At Rotch field and then travel to Milton to play curry college in non-league competition Monday.