In the 2018 season, rookie head coach Leigh Howard led the Marist women’s soccer program to a first-round bye. Unfortunately, they were knocked out of the tournament in the semi-finals by third-seeded Siena, who later lost to Monmouth, the top seed, in a 7-1 thrashing in the championship. With the new season looming, the Red Foxes are taking the day-by-day approach.
“The obvious goal is to win a championship,” Howard said. “But, one of the most important things into getting to that point is setting goals throughout the course of the journey. Right now, our focus is taking each game one at a time.”
Senior Keri Bradley will be returning from injury this season after tearing her ACL late in the team’s previous campaign. Prior to her season-ending injury, Bradley looked to be one of the best players on the Marist squad, not to mention one of the best players in the MAAC. Her return to the pitch brings hope of a huge boost for the team.
After losing a few seniors from last year’s squad — including co-captain Alexis Prisco — new co-captain Nicole Sasso is looking to make her own mark on this year’s team. “[Sasso] doesn’t look to replace [Prisco]… she leads the team in a different way.” Howard explained. “She leads by example, leads through demonstrating heart, through the way she plays and has gained the respect from her teammates.”
With a full season under her belt, Sasso feels that the team is even more comfortable around Coach Howard than last season. With comfort comes with an increase in expectations.
“Last season, [Howard] was putting the gears in place,” co-captain, Bianca Furci said. “So far in pre-season, it has gone more smoothly and we are getting the hang of things much quicker than last season.”
While a championship is always in the minds of the players and coaches alike, they believe that team chemistry is instrumental to winning the MAAC. “We actually made a goal sheet and as a group,” said Furci. “We collectively made goals for each position that we play in and when we have it as a visual in the locker room, checking them off the list is something we want to accomplish throughout this season.”
Marist Women’s Soccer returns to Tenney Stadium with returning players and fresh talent alike. Following a four-game road stint to open the season, the Red Foxes open their home play versus Loyola-Maryland on September 8.
Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine