Brian McLoughlin – 1851 staff
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines dominant as, “commanding, controlling, or prevailing over all others.” The women’s soccer team has been just that over the past nine seasons.
In 2010, women’s soccer captured the program’s first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. Jamie Harris scored the lone goal in the 88th minute to knock off Norwich University 1-0. Former goalkeeper Elizabeth Stickley made two saves and completed her third consecutive shutout of the GNAC Tournament to clinch history.
For the Lasers, more than a conference championship title is at stake this coming November. It would be continuing a legacy put in place by the many alumni that built the program into the dynasty it is today.
The Lasers’s record stands 11-4 overall, and a perfect 10-0 in GNAC competition. The team is led by seniors Carly Zdanek, Erika Badger, Morgan Pinksten, Emma Papile and Sabrina Morais, who have contributed to victories the past three years.
According to head coach Vito La Francesca, “These girls have been with us for four years, involved in three GNAC Championships. Each one has brought a different skillset, different personality to the program, and it has all come together to lead us to where we are now.”
Zdanek leads the Lasers in scoring, boasting 10 goals and one assist for a team-high of 21 points. The reigning United Soccer Coaches Third-Team All-American and GNAC Offensive Player of the Year recently joined the 100 points club on Wednesday, Oct. 3, during a 3-2 victory over Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Badger earned GNAC Player of the Week honors the week of Oct. 1, as she added two goals and one assist to her season total of eight goals and two assists. Morias and Pinksten continue to solidify the midfield and have three and two goals respectfully this season, while Papile tallied one goal.
After graduating GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year in Sarah LaClair, the Lasers turned to freshman Angela Sanzari to fill the role. Sanzari earned GNAC Goalkeeper of the Week earlier in the 2018 season and holds a .839 save percentage with 26 recorded saves. At .74%, Sanzari is ranked second in the conference for goals against average.
While the team moves forward in the season, they edge closer to playoffs. Based on the competitiveness in the GNAC, La Francresca said, “I think anyone can beat anybody in this league. With that I believe we need to have stronger practices to get us into a position to have success.” He ended saying, “these girls are hungry. “
The Lasers will close out the regular season on Wednesday, October 24 on the road at Emmanuel College. Already securing the GNAC regular season title, the Lasers will host throughout the GNAC Tournament as they attempt to clinch a ninth straight title.