Max Berkowitz – 1851 Staff
The Lasell College women’s soccer team enters this year as the four-time defending champions of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) and will look to continue this success in 2014. The Lasers return to the pitch after finishing last season 17-4-1 overall and an undefeated 10-0-1 mark in conference play alongside an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Thus far, the Lasers have competed in eight matches with a record of 4-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Returning for Lasell this fall as captains are seniors, Leah Pappalardo, Bridget and Kayla Lynch, and junior Molly Masiero.
Entering his eighth season at the helm of the women’s soccer program is head coach Vito La Francesca. La Francesca recruited seven freshmen in the offseason and brought back 18 student-athletes in hopes of claiming their fifth straight GNAC title.
“We are hoping to win the GNAC once again and play deeper into the NCAA tournament. We would like to get as many of our players recognized in the league and in New England as we can,” said La Francesca about his goals for the 2014 season. Last season, Bridget and Kayla Lynch were both rec- ognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as member of the Second and Fourth All-New England soccer teams, respectively.
Bridget Lynch set the single season-record with 33 goals and 73 points overall, which ranked second in the country at the NCAA Division III level, and became the program’s all-time leader in both categories. Additionally, she claimed her second consecutive Player of the Year Award in the GNAC.
The Lasers have a difficult schedule in 2014 after making it to their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament last season.
“We have a very strong schedule this year. It is the strongest in my eight years at Lasell,” said La Francesca. “Our schedule features Roger Williams University, Brandeis University, and Amherst College, who are all teams that are ranked in New England.”
Last season, Roger Williams ranked 10th in New England and Amherst College ranked 4th.
“We also play Keene State and UMass Dartmouth who are very strong on the pitch. I am really looking forward to the Amherst game this season as it will tells us where we stand with the elite ranked teams,” said La Francesca.
October is filled with GNAC action for the Lasers. Lasell will host Johnson and Wales Univer- sity on October 11 at 12 p.m. and cross-town rival Mount Ida College on Friends, Family, and Alumni Weekend on October 18th. Lasell will also travel to face-off against conference foes, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine on October 22nd at 3:30 p.m. and Norwich on the 25th at 1 p.m.