BABSON PARK, Mass.—Following a late-season push to reach the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament last season, the Babson College women's soccer program is looking to return to the top of the league in 2019.
Despite the loss of an eight-player senior class that was part of the program's only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015, Babson returns 19 players from a team that finished 7-10-2 overall last season. The Beavers, who won their final two matches to secure a spot in the NEWMAC playoffs, had seven of their 10 conference games decided by a single goal last fall.
APPROACHING THE CENTURY MARK
Tenth-year head coach Nellie Pineault enters the 2019 campaign needing just eight victories to becoming the second coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark. She has guided the Beavers to at least 10 victories five times while recording seven top-four finishes in the league standings over her first nine seasons.
LEANING ON THE VETERANS
On a team with just 11 players with more than a year of collegiate experience, the Green and White will lean heavily on a senior class that includes a trio of returning starters. Maggie McCabe (Weston, Mass.) finished third on the team in scoring with four goals and four assists for 12 points last fall, while both Julia Janikies (Coventry, R.I.) and Maya King (Auburndale, Mass.) started all 19 matches at back in 2018. Forward Olivia West (Norwell, Mass.) has contributed two goals and three assists over the last two years, midfielder Naomi Oki (Waimanalo, Hawaii) made a career-high 14 appearances last season, and Kerry Dunn (Cohasset, Mass.), who produced a goal and three assists in 2017, returns following a year away from the program.
LEARNING ON THE FLY
Sophomores Katelyn Korzec (Whitman, Mass.), Katherine Ryan (Winchester, Mass.) and Maite Gutierrez (Coral Gables, Fla.) combined to start 36 matches as rookies last season while gaining valuable experiences. Korzec was one of two all-conference selections for the Beavers after producing two goals and two assists from the midfield, Ryan scored three times, and Gutierrez was part of the starting XI in 17 matches at outside back. Additionally, sophomore Alexis Fortune (Sheffield, Mass.) tied for second on the squad with three assists despite missing the first seven games of the year.
DEPTH ON DEFENSE
Along with a pair of returning starters in King and Janikies, juniors Scarlet Broderick (Middlebury, Conn.) and Amanda Goldstein (Parkland, Fla.) have both played key roles in their first two seasons with the program. Broderick, who started 12 times as a first-year in 2017, came off the bench in 11 of 12 matches last fall, while Goldstein saw action in 11 contests at outside back.
RETIRING THE GOALKEEPER GLOVES
Sophomore Kayla Salmon (Arlington, Va.), who was pressed into action following injuries to both of the Beavers' goalkeepers last September, will return as a field player in 2019. She made her first career appearance in a 1-0 loss to nationally-ranked Brandeis on September 15 and finished the year with a 4-6-1 record and one shutout in 11 starts.
PLENTY OF NEW FACES
The Green and White have 10 first-year players on the roster hailing from four different states and Ontario, Canada. The group, which features a pair of goalkeepers, will look to contribute on the field immediately.
RETURN TO HARTWELL-ROGERS
After playing five of its final six home games on the turf of MacDowell Field last season, Babson will return to the natural grass pitch of Hartwell-Rogers Field this fall. The Beavers kick off the season with four consecutive home games, and will face eight opponents in all that won at least 11 matches last season.