|FRIDAY, AUGUST 31 // 7:30 PM
BUCKINGHAM, BROWNE & NICHOLS
|SATURDAY, SEPT. 1 // 1:00 PM
JAMES A. SARTORI STADIUM
EAST BOSTON, MASS.
BOSTON – A new era of Suffolk women's soccer is set to get underway this weekend as the Rams lift the lid on the 2018 season, the first under head coach Ashley Van Vechten with a pair of non-conference contests. The blue-and-gold will open its season against Lesley at Buckingham, Browne & Nichols Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m., before entertaining Rhode Island College at James A. Sartori Stadium at East Boston Memorial Park the following day in a 1 p.m. kick-off.
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Suffolk lost a core of its offensive output to graduation with 10 of its players walking across the stage last May. Sophomore Caleigh O'Brien is the only boot back in the line-up that found the back of the netting last season with a pair of strikes. Veronica Bernardo is the only also returner who recorded points last season with a pair of assists. The senior looks to lead the squad back to the GNAC tournament for the third consecutive campaign and eighth time overall.
NEW FACES IN NEW PLACES
Suffolk's line-up will get a boost from the addition of six true rookies this season in Laurel Goding, Julia Hunt, Jackie Kelly, Carley Pearce, Allison Rodrigues, and Lindsay Saad. Junior Cassie Cavender, who comes across town after two seasons at Pine Manor, and sophomore Mariella McEachren will also don the blue-and-gold for the first time in 2018.
The 2018 Rams features 19 players representing seven states. There are 11 student-athletes that call Massachusetts home and a trio which hails from New Hampshire. Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Tennessee are all represented by one Ram resident each.
The 2017 Rams features 23 players representing eight states. There are nine student-athletes that call Massachusetts home and five who hail from New Hampshire. Three Rams hail from Connecticut, while a pair is Maine natives. California, Minnesota, New York and North Carolina are also represented.
Suffolk's squad represents all four classes led by the underclassmen with six freshmen and sophomores, respectively. There are four members of the junior class and a trio of student-athletes taking the pitch for their final go in seniors Melissa Adamo, Veronica Bernardo, and Jessica Foggarty.
ON THE SIDELINES
A new face will be pacing on Suffolk's bench this season as Ashley Van Vechten was named the program's inaugural full-time head coach prior to the 2018 campaign.
Van Vechten takes over the reins heading into the program's 12th varsity season and became just the third coach to lead the Rams and first-ever female to do so.
- Over its 11 seasons, Suffolk has strung together a 4-6-1 season opener record.
- The Rams look for their second straight day one victory, after defeating Rhode Island College, 2-1, in the first outing a year ago. Suffolk has never won back-to-back season openers.
- Suffolk and Lesley will battle on the first day of the season for third time. The Rams and Lynx met lifted the lid versus one another in 2012 and 2013 with Lesley taking down the blue-and-gold in each of those outings.
- Suffolk boasts a 4-7-0 overall record in its first home-game of the season through its short history.
- The Rams have not found the win column in their first home outing since 2014, when they defeated Newbury, 4-1.
- Suffolk has yet to win its first home game in East Boston, since James A. Sartori Stadium became the official home of the Rams in 2015.
- The blue-and-gold will battle Rhode Island College in its home opener for the first time.
WATCH AND SEE
First-year head coach Ashley Van Vechten caught up with GoSuffolkRams.com last week to discuss the upcoming season. To hear what Van Vechten had to say and get a glimpse inside a Rams' training session, click on the video below.
PRESEASON POLL POSITION
In a vote by the GNAC's 13 head coaches, the Suffolk women's soccer team was predicted to finish ninth in the preseason poll.
|2018 GNAC WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES' POLL|
2. Johnson & Wales
3. Saint Joseph's (Maine)
5. Colby Sawyer
7. St. Joseph (Conn.)
8. Albertus Magnus
13. Anna Maria
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|2017 GNAC RECORD
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LOOK AT THE LYNX
Lesley will open its 2017 slate Friday evening as well. The Lynx, who were predicted as the NECC favorite, are coming off a conference championship campaign and return several key contributors from that squad.
Anchoring the returners is second-team All-NECC selections forwards Samantha Bessey (8g, 1a) and Jordan Mitchell (12g, 8a). Fellow second team honorees midfielder McKenna Straube and defender Kyra Harbus were key ingredients to Lesley's defense that only allowed 11 goals over the regular season.
Junior Brittley Gaan will be back in between the pipes for the Lynx after seeing nearly 800 minutes of action a year ago in which she produced a 1.48 goals against average and a .705 save percentage.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Lesley has been a staple on Suffolk's schedule since 2012. The Rams have yet to defeat the Lynx, however, and falling in each of the six meetings.
Rhode Island will kick off its 2018 campaign at Curry Friday, Aug. 31 before stopping by Suffolk Saturday afternoon.
The Anchormen look to improve open its 2017 results (5-12-1) and will rely on returning leading scorer senior forward Brittany DeGrooth (9g, 4a) to lead the way. To compliment DeGrooth on the offensive ends are her classmates Olivia Capraro (3g, 2a) and Elena Couto (3g, 1a).
Defensively, both set of gloves from last season are back for RIC. Erica Edwards saw the majority of action, playing 15 games and starting 13 in which is put together a .768 save percentage and a 2.73 goals against average. Carissa Gagliona also gained experience as a freshman in 2017. In over 450 minutes of field time scattered over eight games and five starts, Gagliona registered a .788 save percentage, a 1.39 goals against average and collected three of the Anchormen's five victories.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Suffolk and Rhode Island met for the first time in last year's season opener. Behind a late game-winner from Paola Ortez, the blue-and-gold took down the Anchormen, 2-1.
Following opening weekend action, Suffolk turns its attention to conference competition as the Rams will kick off its GNAC slate Saturday, Sept. 8 versus Regis in Eastie.