WATERVILLE, Maine – After improving the team’s win total by nearly three games a year ago, second-year head coach Kristin Shaw has key veteran players returning and 10 newcomers for the Colby College women’s soccer team.
The Mules open the 2017 season at Tufts University on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. Colby plays the first-ever game on the new Colby Soccer Field the next day at 1 p.m. against Husson University.
“I am really excited to see how our returners have grown from one season to the next and how they have utilized the past year to develop their skill and their relationships with each other,” said Shaw, who will be joined by assistant coach Mike Skelton. “I want to see how our young team competes against the best competition in the country.”
Emily Martin (Bethesda, Md.) enters her senior year as a midfielder after finishing last year with two goals and one assist. With goals difficult to come by in the tough New England Small College Athletic Conference, Martin will be called on to get forward and be dangerous in the penalty box.
Senior forward Laura Arnold (Dallas, Texas) joins Martin as a co-captain this season. She was tied for second in scoring last year and is Colby’s active career scoring leader with eight goals and six assists.
Three defenders, both goalkeepers return
Sophomore back Lindsay Ayers (Lewisburg, Pa.) was an instant starter in her first year and one of the team’s best one-on-one defenders. She helped the Mules (6-9 overall) allow only 20 goals in 15 games last season.
Senior Ally Ingraham (Minneapolis, Minn.) and junior Katie Senechal (Saco, Maine) also return on what should be a dynamic back line. Senior Jess Horick (Minneapolis, Minn.) also should start or see significant playing time on defense.
Shaw also will have experience in goal with junior Samantha Rizzo (Swampscott, Mass.) and sophomore Dani Lonati (Franklin, Mass.). Rizzo was second in the NESCAC last year in total saves (98) and was fourth in the important save percentage (.838) category. Lonati started the first game of the year last season, but was injured just 39:40 into play and missed the rest of the season due to injury.
“We will continue to be organized, tough, and gritty on the defensive side of the ball,” Shaw said. “We established a brand of soccer last season by remaining disciplined defensively.”
Midfield should be solid
With Martin returning in the midfield as a senior, Colby has a veteran presence with juniors Katherine Gillespie (Arundel, Maine) and Hannah Brozdowski (Easton, Conn.) returning as starters. Gillespie has the ability to play multiple positions, while Brozdowski was tied for second in scoring with two goals and three assists for seven points.
Sophomores Mary Farnkoff (Scarborough, Maine) and Kara Wilson (Concord, Mass.) both had starts or played important minutes for Colby in the midfield.
Arnold and Brozdowski are the top two returning scorers from a year ago, but the Mules do bring back junior forwards Catherine Fraser (Orono, Minn.) and Elizabeth Barry (Newton, Mass.). Fraser was tied with Arnold with three goals.
The Mules will need scoring balance from their forwards and midfielders to have success in 2017.
The 10 newcomers
Shaw is hoping for her first-year class to make an immediate impact, especially on offense where the Mules need to be productive in the final one-third of the field.
Naomi Burhans (Winchester, Mass.), Emily Demmon (Atherton, Calif.), Laura Ensminger (Ringoes, N.J.), Minou Raschid Farrokhi (Kennesaw, Ga.), Grace Franklin (Ridgefield, Conn.), Shannon Gray (East Bridgewater, Mass.), Olivia Greif (Needham, Mass.), Sarah Lofstrom (East Bridgewater, Mass.), Sofia Oliveira (Chantilly, Va.), and Olivia Siegel (Bethesda, Md.) join the team.
The new Colby Soccer Field
The women's soccer team had the first official practice on the new Colby Soccer Field and will play the first-ever game.
"Our program, as we continue to move in a competitive direction, will benefit greatly from the opportunity to train daily on a world-class surface," Shaw said. "Our stadium is the ideal place to watch soccer. It provides a game-day atmosphere for the student-athletes, coaches, and supporters that is second to none."