Column: The other fall sport played at Parsons

Column: The other fall sport played at Parsons

I know most Husky fans are counting down the days to the start of football season, and even more anxiously awaiting the beginning of basketball and hockey. After a 5-6 (4-4 Atlantic 10) season in 2006 the football team is poised to have a great season and head coach Rocky Hager has proven he can get results from the Huskies, but you will have to forgive me for not analyzing every aspect of this year’s football team. And there is still plenty of time until the basketball and hockey teams even begin to practice.

Instead, I would like to direct your attention to another fall sport. I know you can hardly believe it, but there are other teams that play in September.

The women’s soccer team is going to be good this year – Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title-worthy good. Last season the team more than held their own in the ultra-competitive CAA, going a perfect 7-0 at home on Parsons Field and earning a spot in the CAA playoffs. But a first round loss to Old Dominion finished off the Huskies season with a 9-6-4 record (5-4-3 CAA).

This season, they are ready to pick up right where they left off, but the roster looks a little different.

The Huskies all-time leading scorer Kristin Kowalik graduated along with her partner on the front line, Siobhan Howard. Kowalik finished her career with 30 goals and 73 points, the best in school history, and Howard finished her career with seven goals and four assists.

Also gone from the starting lineup are juniors Caitlin Whelan and Hanna Olsson. Whelan transferred to New Hampshire to pursue better academic opportunities and Olsson moved back to Stockholm, Sweden. Combined they put up 11 goals and nine assists in two seasons at the midfield.

However, the players returning for the Huskies are just as impressive. Last year’s CAA Rookie of the Year Sophia Palmquist is back in the midfield after posting a team-high four assists and scoring four goals. She was a CAA All-Conference first team selection and one of only two freshmen named to the All-Northeast Regional Team by the NSCAA. She was also an All-Northeast regional third team selection by Soccer Buzz Magazine and a Freshman All-America third team selection.

Also returning after an impressive rookie campaign is Liza Rebello who managed to lead the team in scoring (six goals) despite never starting a game. She tied for second on the team with 12 points and earned a spot in the CAA All-Rookie team while coming off the bench as a substitute for Kowalik and Howard during the season.

Perhaps the least recognized key to the Huskies’ success last season was defender Laura Johnson. Without a high goal total to flaunt it is easy to miss the senior. She finished the season with one goal and one assist, but she prevented many more. The speedy defender has started all but one game in her three seasons as a Husky and she makes it nearly impossible to get to keeper Annie Petrofsky.

On occasions when an opposing forward is able to beat Johnson the Northeastern goal is in good hands with Petrofsky. Last year her 1.11 goals against average was the third best in school history and she posted an NU record with eight shutouts on the season. In her first season as a starter she made 97 saves while allowing only 22 goals. With Petrofsky and Johnson commanding the backfield it is going to be very difficult to score on the Huskies.

Other key returners: junior Jenna Lucchesi (four goals, three assists, nine points) will likely be the other starting forward; senior Dianna Mastromauro was an instant dose of speed off the bench last season and will be an offensive weapon this year and juniors Emilee Ellison and Brenna Matthews will round out the Huskies returning defenders.

Head coach Ed Matz did not rest on his solid returning class. He went out and recruited eight freshmen and one transfer to fill out the 2007 roster. Matz, who earned his 200th career win last season is in his ninth year as head coach of the women’s team and is looking for the first conference title in the history of the program.

The Huskies kick off their first home game at Parsons Field Friday Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. against Harvard and I urge you to be there. I know I will.

– Erika Carrubba can be reached at [email protected]

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