DURHAM, NH- The 2007 installment of the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer program continues to make strides towards an America East championship. The Wildcats look to extend the league’s longest active America East Championship tournament appearance streak to an amazing seven straight seasons and semifinals to six.UNH lost six valuable members to graduation, but bring back most the program’s offense from the 2006 campaign and add eight highly touted newcomers.
The UNH offense brings back 43 of its 48 total points scored in what should be a much-improved scoring unit. Juniors Sara Hourihan (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Michelle Sheehan (Belmont, Mass.) lead the charge at the forward position after combining for 23 of those 48 points. Hourihan, who was named America East Rookie of the Year in 2005, has led UNH in scoring in consecutive seasons. Sheehan was selected to the 2005 America East All-Rookie Team and made an immediate impact with two goals and a team-high five assists in 2006. Sophomore forward Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.), who was named to the 2006 America East All-Rookie Team, posted two goals and an assist in 13 appearances having missed five matches due to illness. Seniors Adriana Gonzalez-Medina (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) and Marianne Rivard (West Kingston, RI) should also factor in on the Wildcat scoring barrage and provide experience and leadership on the front line and in the midfield.
This season’s co-captains, Caitlyn Serafine (Canandaigua, N.Y.) and Nicole Lucey (Keene, NH), anchor UNH’s strong and experienced defensive unit. The two veterans combined for 33 starts last season and their leadership skills should play a huge factor on the eight newcomers. Serafine was a tri-captain last season and scored two goals on penalty kicks. Lucey, who was named to the America East All-Rookie Team in 2004 while playing for the Boston University Terriers, tallied 15 starts last season and was one of the main reasons why UNH limited its opposition to just 16 goals. Senior Kailyn Mulcahy (Dover, NH) and junior Casey Dieter (Freedom, Pa.) should vie for playing time at the back position along with Meg Wiley (Norwell, Mass.), Alex Hastings (Fort Collins, Colo.), Jenna Duncan (Ivyland, Pa.) and newcomers Cassandra Guerra (DeWitt, N.Y.) and Marika Posehn (Duncan, British Columbia, Canada). Guerra was MVP of the Exceptional Seniors game in New York, while Posehn contributed to a Coastal Cup Championship en route to being named Cowichan Valley Athlete of the Year in 2006.
UNH is strong and deep at the midfield positions. Katie Lutar (Guilford, Conn.), Rhyan Radack (Dover, NH), Morgan Keefe (So. Burlington, Vt.) and Julie O’Shaugnessy (Manchester, NH) all return at the position. Lutar posted four points in 16 appearances, while Keefe and O’Shaughnessy combined for 25 appearances in 2006. Radack returns after medically red shirting last season. Caitlin Whelan, a transfer from Northeastern, also provides new dimensions and experience. Coach Jackson recruited a number of skilled newcomers to the midfield position. Alli Rozelle (Stratham, N.H.) was a star for New Hampshire Class L state champion Exeter High School and freshman Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) should also make an immediate impact on the playing field. Avitabile played for Massachusetts State ODP and Regional Team and guided Pembroke High School to three state championships. In addition to Avitabile, Massachusetts’ natives Deanna Maccario (No. Reading, Mass.) and Kelly Mooney (Canton, Mass.) add youth to a well-balanced attack. Maccario spent 2005 and 2006 as a member of the Boston Aztecs and the Spirit of Massachusetts club teams, while Mooney was named the Division II Eastern Massachusetts Player of the Year.
The loss of last season’s starting goalkeeper, Lynn Gugliuzza, has left the largest void to fill on coach Jackson’s starting lineup. Sophomores Nikki Golding (Milton, Mass.) and Ally Yost (Langhorne, Pa.) and Wildcat senior newcomer Diana Saly (Edina, Minn.) (member of the nationally ranked UNH women’s hockey program) will compete for the starting lineup. The Wildcats notched the second most shutouts in the program’s history in 2006 with seven behind the stellar play of Gugliuzza.
UNH opens the 2007 campaign at the University of Vermont Classic tournament and face off against George Washington and Central Arkansas before returning home to host four straight non-conference foes. UNH follows with a three-game road trip with visits to non-conference rivals University of Rhode Island, Harvard and Dartmouth College. The Wildcats return home to open the America East portion of their schedule as they entertain the Binghamton Bearcats on September 30. The ‘Cats host Boston University for Senior Day on October 25 before closing out the regular season against Yale on October 27.