Preview: Westerly girls soccer

Preview: Westerly girls soccer



Head coach:

Jay Hudson (3rd season).

Assistant coaches:

Evo Deus, Hilary Turano.

Last year:

Westerly finished 12-8-1 overall, 9-6-1 in Division II. The Bulldogs won two dramatic playoff games before falling in the D-II semifinals to Burrillville in double overtime.

Returning to varsity:

Seniors:

Sadie Benn (D), Carley Bowen (D), Skye Byrne (MF), Brittany Deus (MF), Lauren Dobson (center MF, captain), Emily Haik (MF), Caelan Holdredge (F), Brianna Jarrett (MF), Abbey Keegan (center MF, captain), Erika Mayne (F), Meg Morrone (D, captain), Jaime Murray (F-D), Jenna Murray (D), Elle Page (D), Macie Woycik (G, captain).

Junior:

Sydney Federico (F).

New to varsity:

None.

Outlook:

After coming so agonizingly close to reaching the Division II finals last year (Westerly lost in the semis to Burrillville, 1-0, on a Broncos goal with 21 seconds left in overtime), the Bulldogs can’t wait for this season to start.

“They’ve got a bad taste in their mouth and a fire in their belly from the last game,” Hudson said. “It was an abrupt stop to the season, and it didn’t fit well with them. They wanted to play 22 games and only played 21.”

This season, they might do just that, thanks to a nucleus of talent and a surplus of experience (15 returning seniors).

Westerly expects to be stronger offensively and fields a smothering defense led by Woycik, an All-Division II goalie.

“I fully believe we have the best keeper in Division II,” Hudson said. “She has the ability to anticipate the play, an aggressive style of playing and her reaction time is very quick. She also has the ability to go left and right — she doesn’t have a weak side.”

Morrone, an All-Division defender, will protect Woycik. All-Division forward Jaime Murray (team-leading 10 goals last season), Federico and Holdredge will be counted on to score. And Dobson, another All-Division pick, and Keegan will hold down the middle, which, Hudson said, will be key to the team’s fortunes.

“We want to make sure we control the pace of the game in the middle of the field,” he said.

Pilgrim, which dropped from Division I, Moses Brown, Wheeler School and West Warwick all look like final four contenders, Hudson said, along with Westerly.

Coach’s take:

“We want to finish in the top four of Division II so we don’t have to play in the preliminary-round [playoff game], and our ultimate goal is to be playing in the last game of the season, the championship game.”

— Ken Sorensen


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