No place to go but up

After finishing dead last in the Patriot League standings a year ago, the Lafayette women’s soccer team faces a harsh reality: to figure out a new approach to success.

Following a standout 2011 season, the team won just four games total last season, including only one Patriot League matchup. All-Patriot League goalkeeper Lauren Smedley ‘13 graduated, leaving a gargantuan hole to fill.

Lafayette was projected to finish last again in the annual preseason predictions. Despite all of the concerns and doubt, Lafayette defeated Manhattan University 2-1 last Sunday to start the regular season. Alyssa Finelli ‘15 broke a tie score in the 68th minute.

Asked about the team’s success going forward, Finelli said simply, “We just have to take it one game at a time.”

Finelli also assisted on the Leopards’ first goal by Kaelin King ‘17 and was named the Patriot League’s BRINE Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in her career.

The defensive line boasts the most experience this year. Captain Catherine Galgano ‘14 will lead the back line along with Caroline Craver ‘15 and Kelly Chickering ‘16. Catrina Yohay ‘15, Alex Resinger ‘15, and Samantha Potoczak ‘16 will round out the squad.

Replacing Smedley will be a duo of goalkeepers. Both Kelly Sposato ‘14 and freshman Danielle Sedillo will share time. Each goalie played a half against Manhattan.

Juniors Jacklyn Giordano and Laura Zito will lead the attack. Last season, the duo played in all but one game, and combined for four goals. Both will need to step up to fill the gap left by Jill Dozier ‘13, who tallied nine goals a season ago.

“We just have to get comfortable both on and off the field, even with the new additions,” Finelli said.

The inside midfield will be led by juniors Kelly Boyce and Nicole Lee.

However, the player to watch is undoubtedly Finelli. With six career goals and three assists, she is currently Lafayette’s leading scorer.

“I think just keeping our overall goal in the back of our mind is what’s going to keep up the intensity,” Finelli said. “ We want to be able to walk away from it knowing that we left it all on the field every single game.”

With very few places to go but up, determination is high to make this a bounce-back season. The Leopards will continue their efforts on Saturday, September 1 as they face Sacred Heart in Easton.