By Kirti Chakote
Despite falling very short of making the playoffs, the Union Women’s Soccer team (11-4-2 overall; 3-3-2 in conference) has much to be proud about from this season. The team battled through tough losses and several games came down to missed last-second shot attempts or shots right off the cross bar.
Leading the way this season was one of the largest senior classes, containing nine players, in the team’s recent history. The seniors consisted of captain and midfielder Whitney Bickford ’15, goalie Allison Brustowicz ’15, forward Caroline Brustowicz ’15, midfielder Jenna Cornwall ’15, captain and forward Mollie Gilchrist ’15, backup goalie Kara Mashuta ’15, defender Kara Modiliszewski ’15 and captain and defender Julia Shively ’15.
Along with these three senior captains, Breanna Derella ’16 served as a captain at the midfielder position.
Bickford and Gilchrist are returning All-Liberty League Second Team selections, and Derella is a returning All-Liberty League Honorable Mention.
“Having so many seniors on the team helped integrate a large freshman class (11 players),” said Gilchrist. “I think we were all able to serve as leaders in our own way and pass on the mindset and traditions of this program to the next generation of Union Women’s Soccer players.”
The team’s strength was in its ability to move the ball extremely well. They worked hard on switching the field of play through the backs, where they had a lot of experience and skill.
However, the team struggled on the offensive end. The final pass, box organization and finishing key opportunities just never seemed to come together for the Dutchwomen.
The team started the season with a 6-0, with a bunch of non-conference wins, to be ranked No. 12 nationally in Division III.
The team would suffer its first loss of the season to SUNY Brockport (1-0) in its seventh game of the season.
In the next four games, Union went 1-1-2, with pivotal ties against league opponents Skidmore College and Clarkson University.
According to Gilchrist, after the tie against Clarkson, the following two games against RPI and William Smith College were two defining moments of the season.
Union came out with a big win against RPI on RPI’s home field in a night game in front of many fans at East Campus Stadium.
In the next game, Gilchrist felt that the team rose to the challenge against the Liberty League’s No. 1-ranked team and last year’s Division III champions William Smith College (13-2-1 overall; 8-0-0 in conference). Despite losing in double-overtime, the team displayed a valiant effort and the energy to hold the very competitive Liberty League juggernauts until the end.
The Dutchwomen would finish the final four games of the season with a 3-1 record.
Despite having the same Liberty League record as RIT (3-3-2), Union lost the tie-breaker for the fourth and final Liberty League playoff spot.
As these nine seniors conclude their final year as Union Women’s Soccer players, just like other seniors before, they would like to pass down the phrase “play for each other” to the underclassmen on the team.
While it may sound cliché, Gilchrist really believes this team is a family. “We take it upon ourselves each and every time we step on the field to give our all to make our teammates proud.”