Rachel Dobson

Rachel Dobson

Head coach: Jay Hudson (fourth season). Assistant coaches: Evo Deus, Hilary Turano.

Last year: Westerly finished 13-4-4, advancing to the Division II semifinals before losing to Pilgrim.

Returning to varsity:

Juniors: Rachel Dobson (M, captain).

New to varsity:

Juniors: Jackie Fusaro (M), Mackenzie Fusaro (G), Willa Hetu (D), Emma Keegan (D), Madison O’Neill (D), Diana Turano, (M). Sophomores: Nina Cillino (D), Maddie Faubert (M), Alex Nelson (G), Jillian Octeau (F), Talia Sisto (M). Freshman: Gia Keegan (F).

Outlook: Westerly will put one of its most inexperienced squads on the field in many years as it seeks to replace 15 seniors.

The Bulldogs do not have a senior and Dobson is the only player with varsity experience. No player on the squad has scored a varsity goal. But many of them were part of a JV team that lost just one game in two seasons.

Sydney Federico, who scored nine goals and had eight assists last season, decided to run cross country this fall.

Mackenzie Fusaro will start in goal. Cillino, Emma Keegan, Hetu and O’Neil are the backs. Dobson, Turano, Jackie Fusaro, Faubert and Sisto will see time at midfield. Octeau and Gia Keegan are up front.

“We are really counting on our defense and center midfielders (Dobson and Turano) to really manage the game and control possession,” Hudson said. “I think we will be able to do that. “We are going to make young mistakes, but learn from them quickly and overcome them. We are going to fail early, but win late. These girls, they play very well together. They communicate well. They are a close-knit group.”

Coach’s take: “First, we want to grow as a team and become a better fundamental team. Second, we want to ensure that we have what it takes to finish games. Ultimately, we want to grab those 19 points and secure ourselves a spot for the playoff round.”

Keith Kimberlin

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