Despite narrowly losing most games last season, the Emerson women’s soccer team is looking forward to its next season in its new, tougher conference.
The team went 2-7-1 in its New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference games, but six of those losses were by a margin of two goals or fewer.
“That’s one of our main inspirations right now,” said player Alyssa Giannone, a junior journalism major. “The losses we had in the NEWMAC were never complete blowouts.”
Coach David Suvak, now entering his second year holding the position full-time, said this year’s team has the potential to be more competitive.
“We have a little bit more depth than we did last year. Some of those games that were two goal losses will be a one goal loss or potentially a win,” Suvak said. “I think the girls on last year’s team experienced the NEWMAC for the first time, and gained a very good understanding of what it takes to perform at that level.”
Suvak expanded his roster with seven new players in the offseason.
“[The new players] have an ability to impact our team immediately,” said Suvak. “The new class, the first year kids, are going to play a significant role in this year’s success.”
Among the new players are sophomore Elle Wierbicky, a writing, literature, and publishing transfer from Roger Williams University, and junior Cassie Tatomir.
Tatomir, a marketing communication major, said she was encouraged to join the team by junior Mollie Coyne when the pair studied together at Emerson’s Kasteel Well European Center last semester.
“I really missed playing soccer, so I thought I’d give it a shot,” Tatomir said. “I feel like I have a pretty solid knowledge of the game that I can help others with.”
Suvak said he already sees potential starters in many of the new players.
“They all came into preseason in shape, so they’re all fit and they’re strong,” said Coyne, a marketing communication major. “They know the game very well. They’re confident enough to do damage on the field.”
Suvak expects returning players Giannone, Coyne, and Tayllar Righini, a communication sciences and disorders major, to make an impact this season as well.
“Tayllar Righini is one of best players on the team,” said Suvak of the all-conference junior. “She tends to control our style of play and our possessions.”
Suvak said he plans to use Giannone and Coyne in more defensive roles than he did in previous seasons to compensate for some players who left during the offseason.
The Lions won’t play their first NEWMAC game until Sept. 20, which gives them time to adjust to playing together, and give new players collegiate experience.
“We have no easy opponents on our [non-conference] schedule this year,” Suvak said. “That really is for us to be prepared to play in the NEWMAC.”
Despite the tough competition in the conference, the team is looking forward to its second season against NEWMAC competitors.
“Last year it was a bit difficult to get into it and understand the new teams,” Coyne said. “I think that this year we know what to expect, we know who we’re playing, and we’re more prepared.”
Suvak is optimistic about his young squad, comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores.
“When the class comes in a year from now, the team will have finally met a fully recruited team by me, so our depth will show,” said Suvak. “At the moment, the kids who play for this team will have a lot of success in non-conference games as well as conference games.”
The Lions lost their first two games of the season and will face Gordon College on Sept. 6 at Rotch Field.