Pirate Profile: D’Yonna Riley
The transition from being a student-athlete in high school and moving to college can be difficult, but a freshman defender on the women’s soccer team is making it look easy.
D’Yonna Riley of Washingtonville, N.Y., was named Big East Conference Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, Aug. 27, playing a major role in a 2-0 week, which the Pirates defense did not allow a shot on goal.
“That was amazing,” Riley said of the honor. “If felt great. It was a big surprise. Every game I just come out and try to play my hardest and it was just a good feeling.”
Riley has been known for her defensive play, as she was one of seven defenders in the country to be named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America player last year. She also earned an ESPN RISE Third-Team All-State honors.
Riley said she has goals, but the only ones on her radar are team accomplishments.
“I put the team first,” Riley said. “I would really love for us to make the Big East Tournament, even the NCAA tournament. That would be amazing.”
In high school Riley lead Washingtonville to a 16-1-0 season. The team which allowed only 10 goals all season.
Concerning the Pirates defense, Riley said it takes a team effort to be successful.
“I think everyone has their contributions,” Riley said. “I have my weakness and I have my strengths and I’ll just try to highlight those while everyone does their own thing. I think that’s why we’ve been doing so well.”
The Pirates started the season 5-0, when the defense shut out their first four opponents. The start was the second best in program history.
As for starting games, Riley said she does nothing crazy to prepare.
“My teammates do all these crazy things,” Riley said. “I don’t really do anything, I just listen to my iPod and that’s it.”
Riley said she is an undecided major, but is leaning towards studying psychology. After graduating, Riley said she wishes to play soccer.
“I’d like to continue playing soccer,” Riley said. “I’d like to see where that takes me.”
In both 2010 and 2011, Riley played for the Eastern New York North Olympic Development Program.
D’Yonna Riley and the women’s soccer team head to Philadelphia to take part in the Villanova Tournament this weekend for matches against LaSalle and William & Mary.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.