Norwich women's soccer season preview
The memory of falling to Saint Joseph (Conn.) in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conferencetournament is still fresh in the minds of the returning members of the Norwich women’s soccer team.
“[Last year’s loss] sits a little sour in our stomachs,” said head coach Beth Van Parys, who enters her fourth season at the helm of the program with a 32-24-4 record. “But we’re using it as motivation to get out there strong.”
This year, the Cadets have their sights on a chance to play for the conference title. The goal is well in reach for the Cadets, who posted an 11-5-3 overall record in 2011 and finished 8-3-2 in conference play, the fourth-best record among the 14 GNAC member schools.
Sparking the Cadets fire this year are the top four leading goal scorers from last season: senior Brittany Casey (Pointe-Claire, Que.), junior Baylie Lamarre (Tyngsboro, Mass.), junior Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine), and senior Courtney Parisot (Watertown, Conn.).
Casey returns for her final season in a Cadets uniform after leading the team in scoring in each of her three prior years. She finished second in scoring in the GNAC in 2011 with 15 goals and seven assists for a total of 37 points.
She is joined atop the 2011 statistical leader board by Lamarre, who scored eight goals in her sophomore season, three of which were game-winning goals.
In addition to leading the offense, both Casey and Lamarre will be called upon to be leaders on and off the field this season.
“We have a lot of really great upperclassman leadership with [Casey] as a senior captain and [Lamarre] coming up as a junior captain” Van Parys said of her 2012 captains.
Fitzpatrick and Parisot tallied six goals and an assist and five goals and an assist, respectively, in 2011. They will both be called upon to continue to aid the successful Cadets offense this season.
Senior Bianca Bogda (Cranston, R.I.) also returns to the Norwich offense for her final year with the program. She will look to provide senior leadership to the squad and best the three goals and two assists she tallied last season.
Sophomores Alex Frank (Medford, N.J.) and Morgan Lamorey (Northfield, Vt.) return to the midfield for their second season on the field. Frank saw action in all 19 games last season and started 14 times, while Lamorey played in 10 games with one start.
The Cadets boast two returning members from the 2011 defense that aided the team to a league second-best 1.17 goals-against average and held opponents to just 13.7 shots per game. Sophomore Shelby Descoteaux (Hudson, N.H.) and senior Erin Roper (Scarborough, Maine) will be the leaders of a young defensive corps coming into the 2012 season.
Descoteaux, a sophomore, appeared in 18 games last season while starting nine times. She recorded her first collegiate assist in Norwich’s 4-1 win against Colby-Sawyer in non-conference action on Sept. 8.
Roper, a senior, appeared in 16 games with 11 starts in her junior season and also took five shots.
Returning goalkeepers Liz Chapdelaine (Somerset, Mass.) and Allison Hull (South Royalton, Vt.) will look to fill the opening created by the graduation of 2011 goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy. Kennedy saw the majority of the minutes in net for the Cadets in 2011.
Chapdelaine appeared in three games for the Cadets as a sophomore. She totaled 19 saves and a .826 save percentage in 290 minutes of action while posting a 2-0-1 record in net. Hull did not see action in net for the Cadets in her sophomore season.
The Cadets will also welcome eight new players to the roster in 2012. The newcomers include: junior Barbara Neto (West Warwick, R.I.), sophomore Kaycie Anderson (Maple Plain, Minn.), as well as freshmen Kacey Cairns (Quaker Hill, Conn.), Sara Goes (East Providence, R.I.), Victoria Sohn (Embrun, Ontario), Ailish Pilotte (Old Orchard Beach, Maine), Kayla Weber (North Fort Myers, Fla.) and Anna-Lesa Sukkestad (Half Moon Bay, Calif.)
Overall, the season outlook is looking strong.
“We’ve got a lot of offensive firepower coming back, and we’re really excited about that, and we’re going to have some pretty good players filling in defensively to help support our offense,” Van Parys said on the strengths of this year’s roster.
The Cadets open the 2012 season at the ECAC Soccer Classic on Cape Cod at Peter Homer Memorial Park in South Yarmouth, Mass. from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. Norwich will take on Bridgewater State at 4:00 p.m. on Aug. 31 and will face SUNY Purchase at 3:00 p.m. on Sept. 1.