After a second-place finish in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and a trip to the conference title game, the 2011 Babson women's soccer team comes into the season looking to continue their momentum. Eight starters and 16 letter winners return for the Beavers, who went 11-7-2 in Nellie Pineault's first season as head coach. Overall it was the program's seventh straight winning season and their second trip to the NEWMAC Tournament championship game in four years.
The key to last fall's success was the play of the defense. Led by the exceptional play of senior goalkeeper Lisa Wojnar (Bellaire, TX), the Green and White allowed only 0.80 goals per game and ranked in the top ten in the region for scoring defense. Wojnar saw the first action of her college career making 13 stops in a 1-0 victory over nationally-ranked Ithaca College and continued the stellar play throughout the next two months. A Second Team All-NEWMAC selection, Wojnar posted nine shutouts, one shy of a single-season Babson record, and gave up 0.64 goals per game while making 122 saves. In front of her, the backline is steady and experienced. Senior Katie Warjas (Dedham, MA), junior Kelly Hanly (Cortland Manor, NY), junior Nichole Vargas (Warren, RI), and sophomore Carley Martyniak (Foxboro, MA), were regular starters last season.
Leading the offensive attack for Babson will be forward Amy Festa (Medfield, MA) and midfielder Ashley Tourso (Glen Rock, NJ). The junior duo each scored a team-high four goals last season, including two game-winning goals apiece. Festa, despite struggling through an ankle injury, was a Second Team All-NEWMAC selection. Senior Lauren Clement (Pittsfield, Mass.), junior Emily Anderson (Scituate, Mass.), and sophomores Meghan Andrew (Easton, Mass.) and Stefani Paulinelli (Weston, Fla.) all saw considerable playing time last season and will be counted on to contribute offensively.
"We are looking forward to the season," said Pineault. We are going to compete hard every day and we are excited for the challenges ahead."
Babson kicks off the 2011 season with the Babson Soccer Classic, co-hosted by Wellesley College this week. The Beavers will meet William Smith, a 2010 national semifinalist and currently ranked fourth in the NSCAA pre-season top 25, at 11:00am on Saturday, September 3 at Hartwell-Rogers Field. The Herons are one of four 2010 NCAA Tournament teams on the Babson slate this fall.