Over the summer, Mollie Coyne’s mother asked her what her goals were for the upcoming school year.
“I told her I wanted to score 20 goals,” said Coyne, a junior marketing communication major and third-year member of the women’s soccer team.
After more than a third of the season, Coyne is a quarter of the way there.
Coyne, from Hamilton, New Jersey, is at or near the top of many offensive categories for the women’s team.
She leads the team in goals and points, and is second in shots, shots on goal, and shot percentage. She has started all seven games thus far for the Lions. Coyne scored the team’s first goal in their third game of the season, a 2-1 loss to Gordon College.
From there, her offense took off. Coyne led the Lions on a three-game winning streak, scoring four goals in that span.
Coyne’s offensive surge came despite a decision by head coach David Suvak at the beginning of the season to put Coyne on defense.
Suvak said he originally felt defense was the ideal spot for Coyne after losing eight players from last year’s team, including its entire back line.
“I had played defense for my entire soccer career before coming to Emerson, so it wasn’t really a big deal,” Coyne said.
Suvak said he believed Coyne’s combination of skill and determination would make for a perfect fit on defense.
“I think competing in the NEWMAC is going to be challenging, “ Suvak said. “I thought a player with Mollie’s athletic ability and intelligence would help stabilize the back line. She has an aggressiveness and tenacity and a desire to win balls back, and she’s not afraid to get mixed up in the challenges.”
However, after being shut out in each of the first two games of the season, Suvak said he felt he needed to make a change.
“I thought we needed more of a threat up top, so I bumped her up top before the Gordon game,” Suvak said.
Playing on the front line on offense was nothing new for Coyne. She played there her first two seasons at Emerson. For her, the transition was seamless.
“I’m happy that I’m back up top,” Coyne said. “That’s where I started my Emerson career, and I’m comfortable being in that spot.”
Coyne said she was disappointed in her performance last season. She tallied only two goals and one assist for five points in 19 games in the 2013 season. Coming into this season, Coyne said she planned on making her presence felt.
“I definitely wanted to have a huge impact on the team this year,” Coyne said. “I came into this year with a vision of scoring a lot more than I did last year. I also felt, as a junior, stepping up and setting an example for the underclassmen was something I needed to do.”
Suvak said he believes she has taken on a bigger role this season.
“She’s one of the leaders on this team,” Suvak said. “She’s a quiet kid, but she has led by example. She competes in every game, every practice, and she’s definitely a mentor to the younger players on this team.”
Katherine Dobson, a sophomore defender, agrees with Suvak.
“I definitely look up to her as a friend and a soccer player,” said Dobson, a marketing communication major, said. “She gives it her all at every practice and game. She is a great example for the younger classmen to look up to. I can’t think of a negative thing about Mollie.”
Coyne said she knows scoring 20 goals will be difficult, but feels confident, thanks in part to the support of her mom.
“She texted me after the UMF [University of Maine-Farmington] game saying ‘15 to go,’ so she’s already counting down,” Coyne said.