BABSON PARK, Mass.—Following a strong finish to the 2017 campaign coupled with the return of 19 players, the Babson College women's soccer program enters the 2018 season with hopes of challenging for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title.
WHERE WE LEFT OFF
Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Nellie Pineault, the Beavers went 6-1-2 in the month of October and reached the conference tournament semifinals for the fifth time in six seasons last fall. The Green and White brings back eight players that started eight or more games a season ago, which includes four of its top five scorers.
FIREPOWER UP FRONT
The Beavers have eight seniors on the roster and will look to the duo of Emma Dineen (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Jessica Fernandes (Pawtucket, R.I.) for goal production. Despite being healthy for just nine matches last fall, Dineen scored a career-high seven goals on the way to earning the first all-conferece honor of her career. Fernandes was limited to just three tallies in 2017 but enters the final year of her career ranked 12th on the program's all-time scoring list with 19 goals in 58 games. Fellow senior Katherine Cullen (Newton, Mass.) scored a career-high four goals in 13 starts in 2017, while junior Olivia West (Norwell, Mass.) and senior Julieta Ginevra (Buenos Aires, Argentina), who missed all of last season, can provide a scoring spark off the bench.
GOOD HANDS TEAM
Pineault has a pair of senior goalkeepers in Maddison Gierschick (Hopkinton, Mass.) and Elizabeth Mycock (Windham, Maine) who have both enjoyed success over their first three years with the program. Gierschick started all 20 games last year and is 17-12-8 with a 1.08 goals against average, a .829 save percentage and 11 clean sheets in 45 career starts. Mycock, who missed all of last season due to injury, has started 31 matches going 15-6-3 with a 0.77 goals against average, a .814 save percentage and eight shutouts.
DEPTH ON DEFENSE
In addition to the experience in goal, Babson three starters and has plenty of depth along the back line. Juniors Julia Janikies (Coventry, R.I.) and Maya King (Auburndale, Mass.) started 20 and 18 matches, respectively, while sophomore Scarlet Broderick (Middlebury, Conn.) got the call as part of the starting XI on 12 occasions as a rookie. Senior Julia Lindsay (Newton, Mass.) has played in 39 contests over her first three seasons and the sophomore duo of Amanda Gibson (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Amanda Goldstein (Parkland, Fla.) will look to build upon last year's minutes.
MOVEMENT IN THE MIDFIELD
The position with the least experience on the roster entering the season is in the midfield where junior Maggie McCabe (Weston, Mass.) is the team's lone returning starter. She scored four goals and chipped in with three assists to finish third in scoring with 11 points last fall. Senior Jessica DeLuca (Sudbury, Mass.) returned from injury in 2016 to score twice in 11 matches last season, while junior Naomi Oki (Waimanalo, Hawaii) and sophomores Addie Lalor (Washington, D.C.) and Carson Drake (Lawrence, Kan.) all saw time as substitutes in 2017.
LEAVING A LEGACY
The Beavers' eight-player senior class is hoping to finish the way they started, which included 14 wins and the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament as first-years back in 2015.
MAKE ROOM FOR THE ROOKIES
Pineault and her staff have nine first-year players hailing from four different states and two countries on the roster. Even with 19 returning veterans, the first-years should have an opportunity to make an impact this fall.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
The Green and White opens the season with five consecuitve games on the road and will play just one home game at Hartwell-Rogers Field prior to the last week of September. The road trip begins with a pair of matches in Chciago on August 31 and September 2, and also includes trips to Bowdoin and Eastern Connecticut State before the home opener on September 15.