North Adams, MA- The MCLA Women's Soccer program will open up their 2017 campaign with the first of five straight home games at Shewcraft Field on Saturday at 1pm against Rivier. The Trailblazers are optimistic about improving off a season ago in which they were just 3-9-4 overall.
Led by 18th year head coach Deb Raber, MCLA returns thirteen letter winners from last season including their goal keeper and leading scorer. Raber's troops are seeking a return to the MASCAC playoffs and were selected to finish seventh in the preseason poll.
Returning for MCLA in 2017 is first team All MASCAC goal keeper Megan Richardson. The local product was outstanding a year ago racking up 122 saves and 5 shutouts on the season. She will once again be counted on to keep opponents off the board while the Trailblazers try to sort out their offense.
Leading scorer Kaylyn Holliday returns for her sophomore season. Last year, Holliday tallied a team best four goals and will have to produce again one year later. She is the only Trailblazer returning who found the back of the net last year. MCLA mustered only nine goals last season and must improve upon that if they want to contend.
Aleah Sangiovanni, Katie Mancini, Lauren Mangiardi, Brooke Mangiardi, and Miranda Wissman will all be asked to add a scoring punch to the offense. Three of these women saw significant action last year, while Brooke Mangiardi and Wissman will try to impact as first year players up front.
While Richardson anchors the defense, the Trailblazers do return a host of backs that saw plenty of action last season. Hannah Sorensen, Kayla Baker, Sychiah Johnson, and Molly Gurner anchor the back line and are experienced.
The schedule does favor MCLA as they are playing nine games at Shewcraft Field including their first five. Following the opener against Rivier, MCLA hosts St. Joseph (CT), Sage, Castleton, and Worcester State as they begin MASCAC play. MCLA will then hit the road for four straight to close September, but then play four of their last seven at home to close out the sixteen game slate.