As teams around the MAAC start to wrap-up non-conference play, they all...
Women’s soccer coach Dave Clarke says it takes a team to win
By Taylor Massey, QBSN Social Media Manager
The greatest sports teams in history all have one thing in common: they win by a group effort. There isn’t one or two individuals putting in the work, everyone works together. This season the women’s soccer team knows what it needs to do to be the best.
“We’re going to need to be a team,” head coach Dave Clarke said. “And they’ve bought into that notion that it’s 25 to get there.”
A strong team bond can only improve work on the field and captain Beck Kiting (Canberra, Australia) believes that is the team’s greatest strength.
“I think the camaraderie that the team has brought in this year is really, really great,” she said. “All the girls are good friends off the field so that sort of translates on the field.”
Despite losing nine seniors last year, five fresh and promising faces have joined the bond.
“They’re bringing in a lot of depth towards our team,” Kiting said. “I think they’ve all either started or played a lot of minutes already in the games.”
The impact of these new players is already noticeable on the field. Freshman forward Jessica Fontaine (Enfield, Conn.) started in both games so far and even collected her first career point as a Bobcat. She scored against Saint Joseph’s in the home opener.
“I wasn’t expecting [to start] really coming in as a freshman, but it boosted my confidence going forward,” Fontaine said.
Only time will tell if the incoming class will fill the shoes of those who left, but there’s still one very noticeable absence on the field. Upon graduation Jill Kelley left the starting goalkeeper position open.
Sophomore Natalia Grodzki (Bartlett, Ill.) backed up Kelley in goal, but only saw action in four games last season. She started in all three games this year and gave up eight goals, but Clarke maintains confidence in her ability.
“Jill Kelley had a fantastic career,” Clarke said. “Natalia has the potential to be a better keeper. She has to earn the right to be considered in the same breath as Jill.”
Grodzki currently holds the starting keeper position, but there are three back-ups on the roster to fall back on. However, Tori Graessle (Millburn, N.J.) is the only one to have spent anytime in the net.
Regardless, having four goalkeepers on a roster can only help.
“It’s the first time in my 15 years here I don’t have to worry about having coverage at every practice and game,” Clarke said.
One thing that’s for sure, the Bobcats will always have someone to jump in the net as they face some new competitors this year following the switch to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. In the MAAC they gain an automatic trip to the conference championship, which will be held at Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. this year.
The Bobcats are looking to make a big impact in their first year of MAAC play, but first they need to break their current losing streak. Their next opportunity comes this Sunday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. when they play Holy Cross.