Hartford, Conn. – 2017 marked another successful fall for the Trinity College women's soccer team. The Bantams, coached by Michael Smith (21st season), finished the season with a 7-7-2 overall record and a 5-4-1 mark in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) action to finish in fifth place and earn a bid to the league's championship tournament for the fifth straight season. The team's season ultimately ended at Tufts with a hard-fought, 1-0 defeat, but the future looks bright for the young Bantam squad that will return plenty of firepower next autumn.
Trinity struggled out of the gate, suffering a pair of losses at home within two days of eachother, to open the season. The Bantams bounced back, however, with a 2-1 victory against WPI on September 14th to check into the win column. Sophomores Rhone O'Hara (Woodstock, Conn.) and Tricia Pollock (Beverly, Mass.) scored once each to lead the way in the victory. Trinity then dropped consecutive NESCAC matchups against Hamilton and Tufts, before responding with a gutsy, 1-0 victory at Colby for the first conference win of the fall. Against the Mules, Pollock once again netted the game-winner thanks to an assist from rookie Samantha March (Glastonbury, Conn.).
The Bantams rounded out the first month of the season with a 2-1 overtime loss to Wheaton before a 2-1 victory over league foe Bates on September 30th. O'Hara scored for Trinity in the first half before March played the hero with her first career goal in the 73rd minute to lift the team to victory. The win was also the first of a four-game winning streak that extended into the month of October.
October began with a 2-1 overtime triumph against in-state NESCAC rival Wesleyan. First-year forward Amelia Kroschwitz (Byfield, Mass.) scored the game-winning goal in the 101st minute with assists credited to fellow rookies Blake Crawley (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Cami Beath (Kennebunk, Maine) to help the Bantams move to 3-3 in conference play. Crawley scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory versus Bowdoin four days later while senior tri-captain and goalie Julia Pitino (Littleton, Mass.) made five saves to earn her second shutout of the season.
A few days later, it was rookie Taylor O'Connor (Danvers, Mass.) who recorded her first clean-sheet in net, as the Bantams defeated Eastern Connecticut State, 2-0, on the back of second-half goals by sophomore Alexandra Lansbury (Brookline, Mass.) and Pollock. Following a scoreless tie with Middlebury, Trinity closed the regular season with a 2-1 overtime loss at Connecticut College, followed by a 1-0 victory against Amherst that earned them the No. 5-seed in the NESCAC Tournament. Trinity drew Tufts in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament where they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker on a second-half goal by the Jumbos to end their season.
Pollock led the Bantams this fall with eight points on four goals, including three game-winning markers (T4th in NESCAC), to earn All-NESCAC Second Team honors. Pollock finished second on the team in shots while starting all 15 games. O'Hara also had an impressive first season in a Bantam uniform, tallying seven points on three goals and an assist while connecting on her lone penalty kick opportunity this autumn. Kroschwitz and March made immediate impacts to the team as rookies, finishing tied for third on the team with four points each, while Crawley chipped in three points.
Trinity's defense this fall was led by senior tri-captain Sarah Connors (Winnetka, Ill.), senior Alexa Barbaresi (Newport Beach, Calif.), sophomore Kelly Lucas (Ludlow, Mass.) and O'Hara. The Bantam back-line held opponents to just 0.90 goals per game and were a pivotal part of Trinity's six shutouts this season. Senior tri-captain Maddie Snyder (Montclair, N.J.) and sophomore Maeve Rabbit (Concord, Mass.) both appeared in 10 or more games and proved to be key contributors to Trinity's defensive unit as well.
Pitino was named to the 2017 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-American Women's Soccer Second Team, as well as to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team for the second consecutive season. She capped off her college career this fall, totaling 1,144 minutes in the Bantam goal, notching 50 saves for a .833 save percentage and allowing 10 goals for a 0.79 GAA with five shutouts. An All-NESCAC First Team honoree in 2016, Pitino totaled 155 saves for a .852 save percentage and allowed just 27 goals for a 0.79 GAA (tied for second all-time at Trinity) with a 16-10-6 record and 16 shutouts (3rd all-time at Trinity) in 33 games (32 starts) and 3,068 minutes for her Bantam career. She also set a Trinity record for shutouts in a season with 11 in 2016.
The Bantams had an equally successful season in the classroom as Barbaresi, Connors, Pitino, Snyder, Lucas, Pollock, and seniors Tori Dunn (Washington, D.C.), Jillian Ramsay (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Annabel Stanley (Armonk, N.Y.) were each named to the NESCAC All-Academic team. Senior Kristina Caradonna (Lynnfield, Mass.) represented the team on the All-Sportsmanship team.
This fall marked the final collegiate seasons for Connors, Barbaresi, Stanley, Snyder, Dunn, Caradonna, Ramsay and Pitino. During their four years as Bantams, they were part of teams that compiled a record of 37-25-7 and reached the postseason each year since 2013, including a pair of NCAA Division III Championship Tournament berths and last year's NESCAC Championship appearance.