Despite injuries to several starters this season, the women’s soccer team’s defense is leading a squad that has allowed the fewest number of goals in the league.
In the Blue and Gold’s 13 games this season, the squad’s defense has allowed only six goals while not giving up more than one in any game on the Bombers’ way to a 11–2 start.
Head Coach Mindy Quigg said the team’s success on defense doesn’t just come from having strong defenders in the back but from defending as a team all over the field.
“We spend a lot of time focusing on our team defense, and our defense starts with our strikers,” Quigg said. “We don’t just depend on our backs and our goalkeeper to keep the ball out of the net.”
Though the Bombers’ team defense has been strong this season, the Blue and Gold have had to adjust to several injuries to defenders. Junior starting midfielder/defensive backs Marla Schilling and Andi Roach and substitute sophomore Kathleen
Kamerzel have all had knee injuries this season.
Quigg said Schilling, Roach and Kamerzel will not be returning to the field this season.
The injuries forced the Bombers to make several changes to their starting lineup, including moving players such as sophomore midfielder/back Megan Palladino from the midfield back to defense.
Palladino said playing defense isn’t new to her because she played defense throughout high school. She said players will need to work harder for the team to continue its prior success.
“People are going to have to step up,” Palladino said. “We have a big group of girls and everyone is talented so people just need to step up their game and show us that they deserve to be out there.”
Though the team has been forced to make changes, senior defensive back Andrea Janda said it will be able to compensate for the injuries.
“We’ve practiced with the new players back there,” Janda said. “We know their style of play. We definitely miss having two starters, but we’ll still be just as solid with the people we have back there now.”
Since Schilling went out with the first of the three injuries in the team’s 1–0 loss to SUNY-Cortland on Sept. 25, the team has allowed just one goal, which came in a 2–1 road win over Misericordia University on Oct. 6.
Quigg said one thing that will make the transition to playing with different starters easier is keeping the strategy the same.
“We’ve been teaching the same concepts from day one,” Quigg said. “It’ll just look a little different with different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses.”
Graduate student midfielder/back Liz Masucci said the work the team has put in focusing on team defense will help them make the transition to using new defensive players.
“We take a lot of pride in defense and working as a unit,” Masucci said. “Just playing with each other and repetition makes it so we know what to do in most situations on the field.”