After posting the highest single-season win total in the program’s six-year varsity history last fall, enthusiasm and excitement couldn’t be running higher for the fortunes of Massachusetts Maritime women’s soccer heading into the 2014 campaign. Fourth-year Head Coach Ray Cabral welcomes back 17 letterwinners and nine starters from the 2013 squad, and with a mix of talented newcomers, the Buccaneers are ready to set sail for success in the always-rugged Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference race.
Leadership has played a large role in the continued development of the program over the years, and Cabral will look for the trend to continue this fall as seniors Laura Marin (West Yarmouth, Mass./Cape Cod Tech) and Mariah McGrath (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield), along with junior all-conference performer Katie Levesque (Wilmot, N.H./Kearsarge Regional), serve as Massachusetts Maritime’s tri-captains. Cabral, who captured his 100th career collegiate women’s victory last October, said the trio “proved last season how valuable their leadership was for our program both on and off the field, and I am extremely excited to have them as captains this fall. They set a high standard for success both athletically and academically, and they will continue to be amazing ambassadors for their teammates and the Academy.”
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 2014 edition of Buccaneer Women’s Soccer:
FORWARD. Junior Emily Behen (Danvers, Mass./Danvers) leads the way up front for Cabral after netting a pair of markers during her sophomore season, as she led the Buccaneers in the scoring column as a freshman in 2012 with six goals. Fellow junior Asia Vernon (Dutch Harbor, Ak./Unalaska City) lends experience after tallying in 11 matches in 2013, while sophomore Rachel Tallarico (Orefield, Pa./Parkland) also added a goal in five outings. Freshmen Alexandra Sheeran (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) and Amber Vernon (Dutch Harbor, Ak./Unalaska City) will also be vying for spots up front during their rookie campaigns.
MIDFIELD. Marin, who is serving as a team tri-captain for a second straight season, anchors an experienced midfield for Massachusetts Maritime, as she registered a team-leading three assists in 14 matches (13 starts) last fall. Sophomore Aoife Callinan (West Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth) is the top returning scorer for the Buccaneers after netting three goals in 14 outings a year ago, while fellow sophomore Heather Castro (Taunton, Mass./Bristol-Plymouth) chipped in with a marker and a helper for three points while starting in all 14 contests played. Sophomore Ashley Solari (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) lends additional experience after notching a goal in 14 matches (11 starts) for Cabral, while junior Brittany Driscoll (Spencer, Mass./Holy Name) adds a veteran presence after posting a pair of assists in 2013. Sophomore Mackenzie Wilson (Plymouth, Mass./Notre Dame Hingham) enjoyed a solid collegiate debut by starting 10 of 13 contests for the Buccaneers, while freshman Jennifer Foley (Millis, Mass./Millis) also looks to contribute as a program newcomer this season.
BACK. McGrath, who joins Marin as a returning tri-captain for Cabral, anchors the Buccaneer defensive backfield after playing in all 15 matches (with 12 starts) and chipping in with an assist on offense. Sophomore Robyn Plocinski (Berkeley Heights, N.J./New Providence) also collected an assist in 13 outings for Massachusetts Maritime, which welcomes back junior Janine Prokscha (Washington, Conn./Gunnery Prep) as well as sophomores Ashley Holmes (Marlboro, Mass./Assabet Valley), Kianna Carpenter (Sagamore Beach, Mass./Bourne), Brianna Kearney (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) and Dahlia Seggelin (Sharon, Mass./Sharon) to the defensive fold. Freshman Nicole Moquin (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) will also be vying for time in Cabral’s defensive rotation this fall.
GOAL. The last line of defense for the Buccaneers is arguably the best in the conference and one of the best in the region, as Levesque shattered her own school record by making a league-leading 175 saves in net during her sophomore campaign last fall, including a single-match record 27 stops last October at Westfield State. A two-time all-MASCAC performer, Levesque became the first player in program history to earn National Soccer Coaches Association of America all-regional accolades last fall after posting an .829 saves percentage and a school-record six shutouts for Massachusetts Maritime, and over the course of her first two collegiate campaigns she has recorded 344 saves. Freshman Stephanie Hunt (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) will serve as Levesque’s back-up this season and will also be looking to contribute at the midfield spot for a Cabral.
SCHEDULE. Massachusetts Maritime is set to take on a 16-match slate in 2014, including home non-league dates with Anna Maria, Coast Guard, Wheelock and Bay Path to go with MASCAC clashes against Westfield State, Worcester State and Framingham State. The Buccaneers will visit Becker, Pine Manor, SUNY-Maritime, Fisher and Curry in non-league play while heading to Salem State, Fitchburg State, Bridgewater State and Worcester State in conference action.
The seventh varsity season of Massachusetts Maritime women’s soccer kicks off on Wednesday, September 3rd when the Buccaneers head to Leicester, Mass. to take on Becker in a non-league outing that begins at 4:00 p.m. EDT.