Women’s soccer opens up its season on the road Friday at Manhattan College. After a strong start to last season, including a 4-1 home record, the team eventually settled to 6-9-1 with a 2-4-1 record in Ivy League play.
“We want to make sure that we play to that standard of play that we set for this team,” head coach Kevin McCarthy said. McCarthy, who is in his 20th season, was insistent that the results from the previous season would not influence the team’s play to begin the year.
He has set high expectations for this veteran team that includes only five new players. “We want to compete for a title, never go below .500 in the league. We got a lot of older players who have come in prepared.” The new additions to the team have already begun to make contributions, but the team also has the benefit of having continuity from the previous year, he notes.
“I’m really impressed with how the team has connected on and off the field. ... We’re looking forward to our journey this year. The senior girls on our team put us in a very strong position to compete at a very high level this year. They’ve had success, some off-field setbacks. I think they learn from their experience.”
The team’s immediate attention, of course, is on Manhattan (2-2). “I really am putting all of our efforts into making sure we’re prepared. We believe if we do that, the result will take care of itself,” McCarthy said.
In the four games played thus far, Manhattan’s offense has struggled, so even with the graduation of All-Ivy first-team defender Isabel King, the Lions remain confident. “It won’t affect our play. Our hearts will beat a little bit faster,” McCarthy said. “We’ll also be pretty eager to play.”
The Lions follow up with a game at home against Monmouth, which has started the year undefeated, including a win over Lehigh, which won a tight 2-1 overtime contest over the Light Blue this past season. Alexis McTamney and Alexa Freguletti lead Monmouth’s offense with two goals apiece in the three games played thus far.
“They’re always competitive, but right now, the focus is on Columbia and being ready to compete on Friday,” McCarthy said.
The season commences this Friday in Riverdale at 7 p.m. before moving back to Columbia Soccer Stadium for the Sunday home opener against Monmouth at 1 p.m.