North Adams, MA- After a long two week start to preseason, the MCLA Women's Soccer program is ready to open play tomorrow night at Shewcraft Field. The Trailblazers will kick off their 2019 season Friday when they host Nichols College at 6pm. MCLA was projected to finish seventh in the MASCAC preseason poll which was released this afternoon.
Westfield State was selected as the preseason favorite to win the league.
Led by long time head coach Deb Raber, MCLA is coming off a six win season a year ago, however they failed to reach the MASCAC playoffs. In 2019, the head coach is excited about the program's potential heading into the season opener.
"The women have been working hard this preseason and are very excited to start our 2019 campaign," Raber commented. "There's a renewed energy and excitement every time we step on the field and we're looking at that to carry over into Friday's opener."
Raber's troops will face a challenging 18 game schedule beginning tomorrow. One constant that Raber will continue to lean on through the season is the return of fourth year senior Megan Richardson in goal. Richardson, the reigning MASCAC defensive player of the year, led the conference in many statistical categories one season ago and has been named all league each year in North Adams. Her leadership will be counted on to lead the team as MCLA welcomes a host of newcomers eager to leave their mark. Transfer Taylor Jarosz will help anchor the back line in front of Richardson.
While MCLA is set on the backline, the Trailblazer offense will need to step forward in 2019. Last season, MCLA mustered just three goals in conference play, which put a lot of pressure on the defense to keep the Trailblazers competitive.
Raber is excited about their potential to score more goals however as she returns veteran Hannah Van De Water who scored six goals last season. She will once again be counted on to provide an offensive spark. Cetera Moore, an all conference selection in the midfield, also returns. She will look to set up the offense in 2019 as she collected a team best 3 assists last season.
A host of newcomers figure to impact the scoring as well. Coach Raber lauded Natalia Gerena and Alyssa Porter as two fresh faces who could see ample opportunities up front. Midfielders Claudia Bresett and Madeline Gibney should see time early on this season and could impact the offense.
The Trailblazers will look to get off to a fast start playing three of their first four games at Shewcraft Field. MCLA then opens up MASCAC play on September 21st when they travel to Bridgewater State.