A Diverse Defensive: Women’s Soccer Aims to Thrive with Healthy Mix of Old and New
By Elizabeth Hilfrank, Sports Editor
The Gettysburg College Women’s Soccer team returns to campus in high hopes of improving from last season’s Centennial Conference playoff performance.
With 89% of the offensive team returning for 2017, the team believes there is a strong chance for a high scoring season.
In a Facebook Live interview with senior captains Maddie Heaney and Gillian Sencidiver, both posed a positive outlook of strength in versatility. New first years will add to the nine returning scorers.
The lady Bullets added a new team goal this season under the terms of, “Win the next one.” With this slogan the senior captains hope to encourage the team to always look to the next best thing. The team does not want to settle because they believe that is when the talent fails.
Women’s soccer has reached the Centennial Conference playoffs for seven years now, and the team is anxious to hit number eight. With that the women do not want to end just with playoffs but to keep in pursuit for more.
The lady Bullets returned to campus August 18 for their preseason camp. All starting defenders from the 2016 season will return for the 2017 fall. Heaney and Sencidiver believe this feature to be a special one and very important to the success of the program. The defensive end looks to get back to its foundation and thrive on pressure cover.
Not only will the returning members prove beneficial to the success of the team, but a strong group of first years will also march onto the field this season. Two first-years, Kerry Sammon and Natalie Brehaut, will join the defensive end as contending goalkeepers, in addition to a handful of other newcomers to assist.
The depth of the team sparks healthy competition for the season to come and provides safe support in case of injury.
The lady Bullets returned to campus in full-force August 18 for its preseason camp.
“The team came in with a great energy this preseason and ready to work,” said assistant coach Riley Piechnick. “We have a great group of upperclassmen and leaders who are willing to do what it takes for the team to have a successful season.”
A 2016 graduate from Loyola University, Coach Piechnick returns for her second season as assistant coach this fall.
“We are looking for strong, relentless players who hate to lose and so far we are seeing that which is getting us excited for the upcoming games,” said Piechnick.
In a recent Centennial Conference poll, the Gettysburg women were predicted to finish fourth. This would be an improvement from last season’s fifth place finish.
Aside from the physical ability of the team, women’s soccer appears to come in strong on camaraderie. As said by Heaney, there’s something special about going on the field with 11 of your best friends and 10 on the side, cheering you on.
This Gettysburg team believes that leadership is crucial to a well-functioning machine, and Head Coach Matthew Garrett thinks that the team is not remiss in this aspect.
“A new season will be defined by our strong senior group and leadership on and off the pitch,” said Coach Garrett. “We are excited to build a new team to compete for championships with passion, strong values and a real desire to compete and be successful on and off the pitch.”
This fall, Garrett enters his eleventh season as the lady Bullets’ head coach.
Gettysburg College Women’s Soccer officially started its season Friday night under the lights at 7p.m. in a non-Conference match-up against Lebanon Valley College.