After a close bid for the NESCAC title last season, the women’s soccer team is hoping this will be their year. Senior captain Allison Dorey explained that “last season, our hard work did not translate to the results which we wanted. Although we made it to the NESCAC finals and had impressive wins throughout the season,” she continued, “we are looking to do better this year.”
The loss of Jackie Hirsch ’11, one of last season’s top scorers, will be tough, but the Jeffs return a talented roster. Jill Kochanek ’12 and Amanda Brisco ’14 were both named to the All-NESCAC Second Team, and Brisco earned Rookie of the Year honors. She was also last season’s leading scorer with her six goals, and is likely to continue being a powerful offensive threat for the Jeffs. Kathryn Nathan ’13 was another top scorer for the Jeffs; her classmate Emily Little should also figure prominently in the Jeffs’ offensive plans, as she shared the team lead in assists with Kochanek.
Senior captain Jess Wall agreed with Dorey’s assessment: “We have an incredible amount of talent across all of the classes, and six really strong personalities and leaders in the seniors. We all believe that this is the year we can finally win a NESCAC championship.”
Goalie Allie Horwitz ’12 will anchor the Jeffs’ defense with help from Kochanek, who garnered First Team All-New England honors. Wall thinks that “we really need to build on the confidence that we gained throughout the year…as long as we play with the confidence knowing that we can stick with, and beat, any team that we face, I think the wins will start coming.”
Eight first-year players will try out for spots on the team this season. Wall has high hopes for the new talent: “They look to be a very strong class, and as we were plagued by injuries all last year, I’m sure they’ll be able to make a big contribution to our team this season. Hopefully we’ll have stronger depth, and we’ll be able to incorporate them into the team as quickly as possible.”
Some of the big games to look forward to this season will be those against the Jeffs’ old rivals. The only regular season conference losses last season came against Middlebury and Trinity, both by a margin of a single goal. The Jeffs suffered a last-second 4-3 overtime loss to Middlebury, with Scarlett Kirk scoring the Panthers’ winning goal for a hat trick. She was the Panthers’ leading scorer last year with seven goals, and should be a force to watch out for this season. Although Trinity graduated three starters, the Bantams return their top two scorers, who were dominant with 16 and 11 goals last season.
The Jeffs beat archrival Williams 1-0 on the road during the regular season, only to have the tables turned in the NESCAC championship game when the Ephs took the title with a 1-0 win. Williams graduated its top scorer, but will still have a strong offensive presence for the Jeffs to contend with.
For the first time, the Jeffs are scrimmaging against Middlebury and Trinity within the first week of training. “We are lucky to have such a competitive first weekend,” Dorey said. We may not play a full 90 minutes or keep the score, but we will be treating these two scrimmages like regular season matches against our big rivals.”
The Jeffs’ first game is at Mt. Holyoke on Sept. 14th, and they begin their conference games the following weekend. Wall believes that the Jeffs have great potential for this season, and thinks that the team’s greatest strength “[is] our complete dedication to each other and to succeeding as a team, making sacrifices for each other, and doing whatever it takes to achieve our desired results.”