Hartford, Conn. – The Trinity College women's soccer team, coached by Michael Smith (21st season), will aim to reach the post-season for a fifth consecutive season as the team opens up the 2017 schedule on Wednesday, September 6, at home against Farmingdale State at 6:30 p.m. It was a milestone year for the Bantams last fall as they reached the finals of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Tournament for the first time in program history. Trinity ultimately earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament where they got past Worcester Tech to reach the second round before falling to top-ranked William Smith. Senior tri-captains Sarah Connors (Winnetka, Ill.), Julia Pitino (Littleton, Mass.) and Maddie Snyder (Montclair, N.J.) will lead the way for Trinity as they look to make another deep playoff run.
Connors leads the Bantam defense in her fourth season as a starter, and will be flanked by classmate Alexa Barbaresi (Newport Beach, Calif.) who has started every game over the last two seasons. The versatile Connors plays multiple positions, and even chipped in a pair of goals last fall, while the speedy Barbaresi should also play a role on the offensive end. Sophomore Kelly Lucas (Ludlow, Mass.) made an immediate impact as a rookie, starting in 19 of 20 games for a Bantam back line that helped Trinity post a College-record 11 shutouts and hold opponents to just 0.75 goals per game. Senior Annabel Stanley (Armonk, N.Y.) should shoulder a larger role this fall after playing in 14 matches in the backfield year ago, while classmates Kristina Caradonna (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Jillian Ramsay (Glastonbury, Conn.) provide quality veteran depth at the position. Rookie defender Rhone O'Hara (Woodstock, Conn.) will have a big impact from day one.
Offensively, Trinity loses five goal scorers from last year's team, but should have plenty of firepower to make another late season push. In the midfield, junior Taylor Kirchgessner (Bethesda, Md.), an All-NESCAC performer last season, returns after leading the squad with 10 goals, including four game-winners, and six assists last fall and is primed for another stellar campaign. Snyder adds to Trinity's offensive threat having made great strides this offseason after missing the majority of last season due to injury, while sophomore Tricia Pollock (Beverly, Mass.) shined as a first-year, finishing third on the team with 11 points on four scores, and should continue to improve. Senior Tori Dunn (Washington, D.C.) has proven to be effective at both midfield and forward, and sophomore midfielder Olga Koszykowska (New Britain, Conn.) looks to build on a productive first year that saw her appear in 17 games. First-year Cami Beath (Kennebunk, Maine) has played herself into the rotation as well.
Sophomore forward Katie Marlow-Benedick (Weston, Mass.) also had an impressive rookie campaign, further adding to Trinity's offensive arsenal, while junior Shannon Kennedy (Hartford, Conn.) moves up front full-time after two years as a useful reseve all over the field, and sophomore Alexandra Lansbury (Brookline, Mass.) adds quality depth at forward. First-year forward Samantha March (Glastonbury, Conn.) has emerged as a starter, and fellow rookie Samantha Houle (Middletown, Conn.) will play an offensive role at multiple positions. In all, 14 newcomers join the Bantam roster this fall.
In her first year as a starter, Pitino proved to be one of the best goalies in the nation, earning All-NESCAC First Team honors while setting a Trinity record for with 11 blanks sheets. She made 105 save with a 0.75 GAA and recorded all 1,913 of Trinity's goalkeeper minutes in 2016. First-year prospects Taylor O'Connor (Danvers, Mass.) and Kaelie Thomas (La Jolla, Calif.) are the backups.