The Emerson women’s soccer team has started its season with four straight victories, a year after starting with three losses and finishing with a 6-10-1 record.
This year’s squad of 24 players includes 14 freshmen. Last year’s team, which had three freshmen, relied heavily on the ability of senior Meghan Foehl, the team’s leading goal scorer, and five other players who did not return this fall.
This season’s start might come as a surprise to many because of the high number of freshmen, but head coach David Suvak said he expected this sort of play from the incoming players.
“They’ve come in and they are playing a style of soccer that I’ve taught for the past few years here,” said Suvak. “They have that kind of ability to come in and play right away and they are competing very well against good opponents.”
Suvak said that Alyssa Giannone, along with Costanza Prandoni, Mollie Coyne, and Tayllar Righini, make up the team’s primary attacking core, which means that a lot of the team’s success is riding on their goal-scoring abilities.
The freshmen quickly proved they were up to the challenge by scoring all of Emerson’s goals in its first three victories of the season, as well as in its recent tie against Albertus Magnus.
The first freshman to make her mark was Righini, who scored the first two goals of the season for Emerson and assisted on the final goal in a victory over Newbury College.
Suvak, who has been the women’s soccer head coach since 2010, described Righini as quick and hard to cover.
“[Righini] has the ability to control the ball in the midfield,” said Suvak. “She is doing extremely well for us, and has a bright future here.”
Righini, a communication sciences and disorders major, said that her collegiate debut was just like any other game.
“I don’t like to consider it as a college game,” she said. “I like to consider it as soccer.”
By contrast, Coyne, a wing attacker, said that she is excited about being able to continue her soccer career, especially after tearing her ACL in her junior year of high school.
“I think we’re amazing. I’m really impressed by everyone’s talent. I’m really excited for the next four years while we grow as a team,” said the journalism major.
Prandoni, another freshman midfielder said she thinks the team has developed chemistry, but didn’t foresee it coming together so early in the season.
“I’m surprised by how well we play together since we haven’t been together that long,” Prandoni said.
The players will have to work together in order to be successful this season, and according to Suvak, Prandoni’s skill will allow her to take on different roles.
“[Prandoni] is a very talented player. She is very technical with the ball and tackles hard. She also sets up a lot of plays that happen around the box,” Suvak said.
Giannone, a freshman wing attacker, was injured during the game against Albertus Magnus after trying to shield a ball and colliding with another player. She said her injury is only minor and hopes that she can be back to playing at full strength very soon.
Giannone said that she and her teammates are up to the challenge and have set high goals for themselves and for their team.
“I want to win it all. I want to win a GNAC title,” said Coyne. “I have high expectations for this season, and I think we are going to meet them.”
Suvak said that he is very pleased with his team’s work so far, and he credits this to the collective team effort, whether it was by making phone calls and giving tours, to bring in such a talented and sizeable incoming class.
“The team last year worked very hard on this recruiting class and it was a team recruiting effort,” he said. “It was a team effort to build the program, and I am going to continue that process. I want to build a strong program.”
The women’s soccer team is currently 4-1-1 on the season.
Burton can be reached at email@example.com.