Head Coach Jim Wendling and the Golden Griffins women’s soccer team is set to open up the 2014 regular season this Friday, Aug. 22, when the squad travels to Newark, N.J., to take on NJIT at 7:00 p.m.
Following the Friday night contest, the Griffs will play a match against cross-town rival Buffalo at 12:00 p.m. Canisius has a 2-0-0 all time record versus NJIT and an 11-23-4 all time record versus the Bulls.
The Griffs will enter the season with 19 returning players, including six seniors. The team will have eight backs, seven forwards, four goalkeepers and eight midfielders.
The group of seven forwards will be a relatively young one as four of the forwards, Samantha Gagliano, Savannah Jonathan, Taylor Kugler and Tiara Saunders, are incoming freshmen. Senior Mallory Illsley, who played in 21 games, making 18 starts recording three goals, three assists and nine points, will look to lead the young group along with junior Brittany Krause who played in 19 games, recording four goals, five assists and 13 points. The other upper classman in the group is senior Katelynn Chamberlain who missed the entire 2013 campaign due to injuries.
The team will have eight defenders heading into the season and the group is highlighted by three upperclassmen. Senior Jenny Piaggione served as the teams right back in 19 games last season, junior Brittany Bowen who appeared and started in 16 contests last season, anchoring the back line and helping the team record four shutouts and fellow junior Alexis Kroese. Behind those three, the backs will feature a trio of sophomores, including Bailey Jordan, who started 18 games last season, Hannah Chesney who played in 16 games, and Callie Good, who started 12 games at center back. Rounding out the group will be two freshmen, Rebecca Lederman and Julia Mullican.
The midfielders are highlighted by Tara McPherson, who was named to the First Team All-WNY All-Stars by Upper 90 magazine, Maria Nelms, six starts in 19 games played and Emma Pastori, who played in a career high five games last season. MAAC All-Academic Team member Mattia Cornell will be the fourth upperclassman in the group. The underclassmen in the group are sophomores Sabrina Fitzgerald, 16 games played and five points, Kathleen Lawver, seven games played and three points and Katie Felegy. Lisa Nelson is the lone freshman.
Four goalies will be on the 2014 roster, headlined by senior Brigid St. Leger, who has the most experience of the four keepers. St. Leger has played in nine career games, starting four, making 41 saves and recording two wins. Behind St. Leger are junior Kailee DeFranks, sophomore Allison Maynard and freshman Kaylee Price.