August 12, 2009

Women's Soccer Set to Kick-Off 2009 Campaign

Aug. 12, 2009

The 2009 Pioneer women's soccer team will look to earn the program's eighth NEC Tournament bid in nine years. Last season saw Sacred Heart outside of the playoff picture for the first time since 2000. Head coach Kim Banner will again have the services of Leigh Dogmantis, who netted a team high seven goals last season, and goalkeeper Meghan Reichelt who enters her third season in net for the Pioneers.

Banner will count on the leadership of her captains, senior Ashley Testani and Dogmantis as the Pioneers welcome a large freshman class to the program. In 2008, Testani notched a pair of assists from her midfield position. The Pioneers will be anchored on the backline by junior Jasmine Rodriguez who has started 26 games in her career for Sacred Heart. She will be joined by senior defender Jackie Sharp who appeared in 19 of the Pioneers 20 games in 2008. The final two seniors on Kim Banner's 2009 squad are midfielder Mary Dick, who has 50 career caps for SHU, and homegrown talent Lauren Tourtellott from Orange, CT.

Sacred Heart struggled on the offensive end last season but will benefit in 2009 with the return of juniors Alex Mack and Lindsay Elliot. Mack, who played in 18 games last season, was the Pioneers team leader in assists totaling three. Elliot appeared in 16 games for SHU and notched an assist in the Pioneers match up with Siena. Fellow midfielder Samantha Kee may be a player to watch out for in the upcoming season. Kee, a sophomore, appeared in every game for the Pioneers and improved throughout her freshman year. She will look to be an impact player in her second season wearing the red and white.

Brittani Cookinham and Jillian Goodwin will add depth to the Pioneer roster as they both return for their junior seasons in a Sacred Heart uniform. This year's group of returning players is rounded out by a slew of sophomores highlighted by Heather Quevillion who appeared in 10 games and made five starts as a freshman. Others players returning for their second season include Kate Grosso, Amanda Stiles, Veronica McGorry, Lauren Tamberino, Maggie O'Callaghan, and Kimberly Lombardi.

The Pioneers welcome 12 new faces to training camp as the gear up for the 2009 campaign. On the frontline Sacred Heart has added All-American forward Stephanie Whitten from Waterville, ME. A very intense and powerful forward, Banner expects her to be able to make an instant contribution on offense. SHU solidified their attack further with the signing of Ashley Moore from Levittown, NY. A tall, strong forward who plays for the Commack Blasters, Moore should bring some offensive fire power to the SHU frontline.

The freshman class should be able to gel nicely as Elizabeth Stewart and Lauren Boccio, teammates of Moore on the Blasters, will also make Campus Field their home in the fall. Stewart is a very versatile player and Coach Banner looks for her to bring stability to the midfield. Boccio's excellent speed will be a great asset for the Pioneer defensive unit.

Also joining the Pioneers will be Jen Mulvey of Manalapan, NJ. A strong offensive threat, Banner considers Mulvey a work horse that will be a solid player in the midfield. The Pioneer coaching staff is also pleased about the addition of Sydney Judkins from South Park, PA, an all-section and all WPIAL all star goalkeeper. One of the top netminders in the State of Pennsylvania, Judkins will provide some much-needed depth in goal.

Mia Gardner from Essex Falls, NJ enters camp as a midfielder while Lia Palmacci a defender from Groton, MA joins the SHU back line. This year's recruits are rounded out by four additional athletes from New York, Melanie Ferrer, Kathy Gualotuna, Emily Rokitowski, and Mikeala Wolf.

Sacred Heart will kick off the season August 28 in Fairfield as they welcome La Salle to Campus Field. Just two days later the Pioneers match up against Longwood University. SHU then hits the road for three games the following week at Rider, St. Peter's College, and Yale. The team will then make a stop back home for a tilt with Maine September 13. The Pioneers finish off the non conference portion of the schedule on the road September 18 and 20 against Stony Brook and Providence, respectively.

The conference slate opens September 29 at home as the Knights of Fairleigh Dickinson invade Campus Field. The Pioneers then head to western Pennsylvania for match-ups with Robert Morris and Saint Francis (PA). October 9 and 11 will see Sacred Heart back home to take on a pair of in state rivals, defending NEC Champions Central Connecticut and Quinnipiac. The Pioneers than have three straight road contests beginning with a trip to Rhode Island as they meet Bryant, who for the first time will be included in the NEC standings. The trip concludes at Wagner and defending regular season champion Long Island. The regular season will conclude back where it began in Fairfield as the Pioneers host Monmouth and Mount St. Mary's with the season's final game scheduled for November 1.