At 2-1, the Marist women’s soccer team is already off to a fast, positive start in their 2019 season. Wins over Towson (3-0) and Delaware State (a 5-0 rout) have the Red Foxes on the right side of .500 early on, with a 3-1 loss to Drexel coming in between on Friday night.
Head coach Leigh Howard knows how to win. It’s as simple as that. Last season, Howard’s first, the team ended with an overall record of 9-8-2, ending their MAAC play with a 7-2-1 conference record. This earned the women the second seed in the postseason tournament after being selected seventh in the preseason poll. For the upcoming season, the MAAC predicted the Red Foxes to be fourth in the preseason poll. In the last two seasons, Marist has either matched or exceeded its preseason ranking.
“We are excited to prove everyone wrong… we did come out second last year and we think it was unfair of them to put us at fourth,” said junior captain Nicole Sasso. Looking to go further than last year, the team’s expectations remain high.
Clouding the high hopes and expectations is the fact that standout soccer player and captain Keri Bradley has been ruled out indefinitely. Bradley ended the 2018 season with a torn ACL, and during her recovery process, she reinjured herself, a setback that would call for additional surgery. It’s no question that Bradley is one of the team’s most impactful players; a remaining positive is that her impact isn’t necessarily limited to her play.
“Regardless if she’s playing or not, she’s been a huge impact on the team thus far,” senior Bianca Furci said. “She’s the first and last one on the field, putting her best foot forward regardless of everything she’s had to go through, and that has been a great example for the rest of the team.” Although the team is without Bradley on the field, she has followed them every step of the way on the sidelines, encouraging all of them. Sasso explained that Bradley has “happily taken on a mentor role.”
Without knowing when Bradley will be cleared to play, the girls continue to have a positive outlook on the future, hoping to have her back by the end of the season. In the meantime, they glue their eyes to the prize: a MAAC Championship.
Edited by Will Bjarnar