As the Massachusetts Maritime women’s soccer program completes its first decade of varsity intercollegiate play this fall, excitement is running high after the Buccaneers posted the highest single-season win total in school history last season. First year Head Coach Yvonna Press, who was promoted after serving as an assistant for the last three years, looks to keep that positive momentum going with 10 letterwinners and six starters back in the fold for the 2017 campaign.
Press, a former standout at Division I Jacksonville, will look for leadership from senior Nicole Moquin (Middleboro, Mass./Bristol-Plymouth) and junior Madison Taylor (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow), who will serve as Massachusetts Maritime’s co-captains this season. Press says the duo “have exhibited outstanding leadership and played key roles in continuing to build our program during their careers. The example, work ethic and determination they display both on and off the field has resonated with their teammates, and they will both play a large part in our success going forward.”
Here’s a look at how things are shaping up for the 10th season of Buccaneer women’s soccer:
FORWARD. Senior Stephanie Hunt (Brookfield, Conn./Brookfield) is the top returning scorer for Press after netting 11 goals (including a pair of game-winners) and two assists for 24 points a year ago, as she teams with Taylor (seven goals, four assists) for a formidable tandem up front for Massachusetts Maritime. Sophomore Cammi Balentine (Haverhill, Mass./Pentucket Regional) provides additional experience after tallying a goal in 15 appearances as a rookie, while the freshmen trio of Anna Deely (Marstons Mills, Mass./Barnstable), Madison Manson (Sunapee, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) and Mikayla Houlihan (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) will all look to contribute during their inaugural collegiate campaigns this fall.
MIDFIELD. Junior Rachel Gardner (Bourne, Mass./Sturgis West) and sophomore Jessica Baldassini (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) return to the middle after each netted a goal and an assist for three points in a combined 24 matches played a year ago, while sophomore Brantley Collins (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) made 15 appearances (seven starts) a year ago as well for the Buccaneers. Seniors Alexandra Sheeran (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) and Amber Vernon (Dutch Harbor, Ak./Unalaska City) return to lend veteran experience as well for Press, who also welcomes freshman Colleen Sullivan (Braintree, Mass./Norfolk Aggie) as a newcomer in the midfield in 2017.
BACK. Junior Brittany Munson (Tolland, Mass./Southwick-Tolland) anchors the Buccaneer backfield after starting all 16 contests last season, while Moquin provides additional experience after starting seven of nine matches in 2016. Sophomore Emma McNally (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) moves from the midfield to the defensive corps after collecting three goals and an assist for seven points in 14 starts as a rookie, while sophomore Kristen Shanley (Marshfield, Mass./Marshfield), along with freshmen Bianca Mark (San Juan, P.R./Baldwin School) and Corryn Ulrich (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester), will also be vying for roles in the backfield this season.
GOAL. Sophomore Sara Coffey (Norton, Mass./Coyle-Cassidy) provides a solid last line of defense for Massachusetts Maritime after impressing during her first collegiate campaign in goal last year, as she recorded five victories, two shutouts and 123 saves in over 1,465 minutes played while starting all 16 contests for the Buccaneers.
SCHEDULE. Press’s squad will take on a 15-match regular season slate this fall that includes home non-conference dates with Becker, Dean, Wheelock and Pine Manor as well as MASCAC clashes with Fitchburg State, MCLA and Bridgewater State alongside the Cape Cod Canal. The Buccaneers will head to Eastern Nazarene, Anna Maria, Bay Path and Suffolk for non-league contests while also venturing to Salem State, Westfield State, Framingham State and Worcester State for league affairs.
Massachusetts Maritime begins the Yvonna Press era on Saturday, September 2nd when the Buccaneers entertain Becker in a non-league outing at Clean Harbors Stadium at 1:00 p.m. EDT.