After being ranked eighth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll and starting the season 5–1, the women’s soccer team bowed out of its eighth straight NCAA tournament appearance with a 3–0 loss to The College of New Jersey on Sunday.
Despite the second-round loss, the earliest exit for the Bombers since a second-round 3–1 loss to Messiah College in 2006, the Blue and Gold still had a successful season, finishing tied for first in the Empire 8 with Nazareth College with a 7–0–1 record and finishing 13–5–1 overall.
Senior goalkeeper Jessica Platt said the Bombers had a good year, but things don’t always go the way the team would like them to.
“We definitely had a successful season,” Platt said. “We won tough games and lost some tough games. We went through, rode the waves and had our highs and lows just like any other team. Sometimes things just don’t go your way, but we’re one of the best teams in the nation.”
The Bombers finished the season 4–3 in games that were decided by a single goal with the most recent being the Blue and Gold’s 1–0 win over Springfield College in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Head Coach Mindy Quigg said the team’s defense, which was one of the Bombers’ main focuses throughout the season, played a large part in the team’s success.
“Our team defense was huge,” Quigg said. “It’s the backbone of our team. Because we’re so youthful all over, it’s hard when you have new players trying to get into a rhythm. I knew we had to base our foundation on our team defense and our team bought into it and did a great job with it.”
The Bombers’ youth is illustrated in that 23 of the 34 players on the team are freshman or sophomores.
Graduate student midfielder/defensive back Liz Masucci said despite being such a young team the freshman class came in right away and made a big impact.
“They really stepped up huge and came in and picked up pretty quickly how this program runs,” Masucci said. “Everyone was always pushing each other. With so many people on the team that’s what you need, and that’s why we were successful this year.”
The Bombers had nine different players named to the Empire 8 all-star team this season, highlighted by sophomores Rachael Palladino, Julie Winn and Megan Palladino, who were all named to the all-star first-team.
The Blue and Gold continued the team’s streak of undefeated games in conference, stretching the streak to 16 conference games since the Bombers’ last loss.
Masucci said the Bombers had a good season despite the second-round NCAA loss, and the team came a long way from how it looked at the beginning of the season.
“It was a fight throughout the entire season,” Masucci said. “There were a lot of kinks to work out, and I’m really proud of everyone. I had a lot of fun this year, and it was just a great year altogether. It may not have ended the way we would have liked, but we definitely went out fighting and you can’t ask for anything more.”