Women’s soccer aims to break scoring blues.
Amanda Boyer/Photography Editor
The women’s soccer team will face off against Stony Brook on Thursday, kicking off the first of a season-high three game road trip. The trip will also see the blue and white travel to Princeton on Sept. 8 and to West Point on Sept. 12 for an away meeting versus Army.
The Hall (1-3-0) head into Thursday’s match up versus Stony Brook (1-3-0) with some question marks surrounding the team’s offense, which has struggled in the opening four games of the season. The Pirates have been shut out in their last three games, all by a 1-0 final and have only been credited with one goal, scored in the team’s opening 2-0 victory at Marist by junior defender D’Yonna Riley. A second goal was recorded in that game, but came from a Marist own-goal.
Head coach Rick Stainton understands the need to improve the offense, but also accepts the team has some limitations up front. “We’re very limited on attacking-type players right now,” Stainton said. “We’re using some midfielders and defenders to try and fill those roles, and they’re doing a great job at doing so. They have been creating some opportunities, but they’ve been limited.”
Stony Brook enters Thursday’s match with an identical 1-3-0 record, and are led by redshirt-sophomore forward and West Orange native Raven Edwards who missed all of last season. In her first four games this season she has two of the team’s three goals and leads the team in goals and shots.
In goal for the Seawolves is expected to be senior goalkeeper Ashley Castiano, who has started all four games this season for Stony Brook. She has allowed eight goals on the season and recorded a shutout victory in a match versus Delaware State.
For the Hall the rotation of goalkeepers has resulted in a split in goal between junior Gina Maiorana and sophomore Illissa Blackshear. Stainton praised the goalkeeping core. “They come in on a daily basis and compete for the position,” Stainton said. “We’re a result-oriented business, and even in training sessions we factor in the results, and see who’s playing at a high level and that’s who’s going to get the nod.”
Coach Stainton’s edict has not been lost amongst the most recent goalkeeper, Illissa Blackshear. “We all want that starting spot,” she said. “It’s up to Rick in the end to decide who he wants in net–It’s our jobs to make it tough for the coaches to decide.”
As for the team play, both Blackshear and Stainton have made it clear: the team has been in on every games, with all losses being only one-goal deficits. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out of the park,” Stainton said. “We’re trying to catch some momentum, and in order to win some games we have to score goals.”
Stainton also preached the importance of positivity and creating more opportunities in the back end as they head into this road trip.
The Pirates will look to break the scoreless drought on Thursday as they take on Stony Brook. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
Neal McHale can be reached at email@example.com.