Women’s Soccer Looks to Build on Recent Success

BY STEVEN SOUSA //

After their trip to the Commonwealth Coast Conference semifinals, the Curry women’s soccer team is looking to reproduce more of that success.

The Colonels finished the year 11-9-2, good enough for fifth in the final conference standings. Curry was set to travel to the #4 seed University of New England to open their tournament. A 2-1 win set them up to host the eighth seeded Gordon College, fresh off their upset of #1 Roger Williams.

The Fighting Scots battled the Colonels to double overtime where it only took over a minute to find the back of the net and end the season for Curry.

Although the Colonels were able to go on the road and grab a win in the playoffs, head coach Jason Tassinari made his goals for the team very clear for this season.

“What we really want to do is host a tournament game in the first round,” Tassinari said. “That means we want to finish in the top four which we think we can.”

From there it is a simple plan for Tassinari’s fifth year at the helm; “Get ourselves into the conference finals.”

In order to achieve those goals, the team must improve on their conference record, which they have done in each of the past three seasons.

“For us, the talent level has been much better in the last several years so you’re starting to see the overall results get better because our non-league schedule has been a little bit tougher,” Tassinari noted.

That elevated competition level makes Coach Tassinari feel like “we’re a little more prepared to play some of these conference teams.”

He views this year’s squad as a top three or four team in the conference despite the thoughts of the other coaches in the conference.  According to the most recent preseason Coaches’ Poll, the Colonels are the fifth best team in the conference.

A large part of that ranking may be due to the graduation of standout goalkeeper Morgan Stott and leading scorer, forward Kaitlyn Lima.  Although Tassinari recognizes their production, he isn’t worrying too much about replacing them.

“If you start worrying about the players that you lose, then you’re disrespecting the players you have,” said Tassinari.

Coach Tassinari hasn’t named an official starter in net yet, but expects one of his three sophomores, Katelyn DeMaio, Haley Rice, and Kristen Buzzotta, to step up and take the reins.

Replacing goal scorers is always a challenge, and Tassinari expects a committee of forwards to step up and fill Lima’s shoes. Seniors Amanda Crisfulla, Korinna Tsonis and captain Cassandra Grasso accounted for just two points last year but will likely see an increase this season.

The second captain of this year’s team is defender Abby Ford.  This is Ford’s second season as a captain and Tassinari feels that these two captains can be the best captains the team has ever had in his five-year tenure at Curry.

“Both of them are passionate about the program, highly competitive individuals, they love to play and they care about winning, and that right there is tremendous from your two leaders,” Tassinari said.

With a pair of experienced leaders and a blend of new and veteran players, the 2017 Colonels will start off the year on the road this Friday, Sept. 1 against Rhode Island College at 7 p.m.

Their home opener will be Sunday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. when they take on Thomas College at the Walter M. Katz Field.

Women’s Soccer kicks off homecoming weekend with a win

BY BRANDON WILFORE // Oct. 22, 2016 //

The last game at home is something special for athletes, and six Curry seniors were able to go out on top with a 1-0 conference win over Gordon College.

With rain coming down almost sideways, the gloomy mood was set as tears and raindrops poured down the seniors faces during the opening ceremony. As soon as the ceremony concluded, however, it was all business for the Colonels who were seeking their 10th win of the season.

The first half was back and forth as both teams were slipping and sliding in the rain. The Fighting Scots got off six shots and senior Morgan Stott, who has been a huge asset to the team all year, made five spectacular saves. Curry only had three looks at goal in this half, their offense seemed sluggish and no one really wanted it.

0-0 at the half.

The second half started and the Colonels passed the ball into play and to the outside where they made a run at the end line with numbers. No less than 20 seconds into the second half, senior Kaitlyn Lima had a beautiful ground-ball cross and classmate Briana Fitzsimmons buried her fourth goal of the year to put Curry up 1-0 in her last home game.

The Colonels were the hungrier team in the second half, winning virtually every header and beating out every loose ball. They weren’t going to let anybody spoil their senior night.

Curry got solid contributions from many seniors, including Kelly Parker, who had multiple great looks off of corner kicks leading to many opportunities for the Colonels. Senior Christina Chiofalo put in solid minutes all over the field.

On top of that, Abbey Sadlers suited up and got her first start since 2014 when she had been sidelined due to concussion issues. It was a very emotional night for all involved.

The inspired Colonels held on to win 1-0 and improved to 10-7-2 to keep their playoff hopes alive and well.

Playoff Push: Curry has now won two straight conference games and ends the season against conference foe Eastern Nazarene Tuesday night at 9 p.m.

Injury Bug: Junior Cassie Grasso and senior Korinna Tsonis both came down with season-threatening injuries, possibly serious enough to put the regular season finale and postseason play in jeopardy.

Future?: Although Curry has six seniors, only four of them see consistent playtime, while the underclassmen backups get minutes to develop and gel for the years to come.

Women’s Soccer ties University of New England to keep playoff hopes alive

BY BRANDON WILFORE // Oct. 8, 2016 //

With only six games left in the season, Curry is trying to gain momentum to propel them into the postseason. A good way to do that is tie first-place University of New England, 1-1.

On paper, the Colonels seemed defeated before the game even started. The Nor’easters had not allowed a goal in four conference games and only six goals in their ten games on the season. They are also a juggernaut offensively, coming into this game with 24 goals overall.

Curry saw those stats before this game, but they could care less. The hard-working Colonels were going to fight for all 90 minutes, whether it was team USA or the University of New England.

Even after a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Biddeford, Maine, the Nor’easters were out-hustling Curry early and often. They seemed to be faster and, more importantly, hungrier for a win.

With 17:30 remaining in the first half, UNE got a great look at goal but the Colonels’ goalie, Morgan Stott (don’t forget her name) made a save to keep it locked at zero. This initial shot was the first of many over the next three minutes, as UNE peppered Stott with shots and she made save after save.

But something had to give, and it did. Taylor Usko grabbed a goal with 15 minutes left in the first half to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

At halftime if you looked at a stat sheet, you would think Curry was down 5-0. The Nor’easters outshot Curry 14-1 in the first half. The Colonels’ lone shot wasn’t even on goal… UNE finished the half with three corner kicks to Curry’s zero.

But the story of the opening half was the tremendous play of Stott. She had nine saves and kept the Colonels’ hopes alive going into the second half.

After the break, Curry came out firing, noticeably urgent with their passes and possession of the ball. They beat Nor’easters to balls and made great runs to the corner for deep crosses. That finally paid off when the Colonels earned their first corner kick of the night, anxious to score their first goal.

Off the corner kick, the crowd cheered as senior Briana Fitzsimmons netted her second goal of the year to tie the game at 1.

Over the next 20 minutes, Curry would keep the pressure on UNE, with great strikes from distance, corner kicks and possessing the ball in their offensive half.

No chance looked better than when one of the Colonels’ midfielders stopped and rifled a shot from about 35 yards out and nailed the crossbar. As the sound echoed throughout the air, the crowd gasped as the Colonels came inches away from taking the lead.

The Nor’easters threatened with three minutes left, being awarded two consecutive corner kicks, but nothing came of them before the time expired to send the game to overtime.

Just like the first half, UNE seemed to dominate the initial period. They had four shots and Curry had zero. The Nor’easters had the ball a lot in the ten-minute period but, no goal.

When the second overtime period started, the smell of victory was pungent in both teams, as the intensity rose with every second that bled off the clock. Parents in the stands quickly turned into super fans and coaches. Physicality picked up and bodies started to hit the turf more and more often. Both teams were leaving it all out there.

But it wasn’t enough, and the final horn sounded. Usually, a tie is a bittersweet feeling but not for the Colonels. They were cheering after the game because they knew how big of a game this was.

“Even though we tied, it felt like a win,” said defensive captain Abby Ford who played great defense all night for Curry over the middle of the field.

Ford added that, “It brought our team confidence up because now we know we can compete with anyone.” A great attitude for the Colonels as they enter the most important stretch of the year if they want to play in the postseason.

Un(Stott)able: Morgan Stott had a game-high 14 saves and played all 110 minutes not only making incredible saves, but also being the vocal leader of her team.

Big 2: With her assist Friday night, Kelly Parker now has 14 points on the year. Tied for fourth-best in the conference. Curry’s Kaitlyn Lima leads the conference in points with 18.

Getting healthy: A big part of making a postseason run will be health. Friday night, junior Cassie Grasso returned after missing games with a foot injury. She has eight points this year.

Women’s Soccer Continues Hot Streak

BY ANDREW ARRUDA PENACHO // SEPT. 27, 2015 //

The women’s soccer team was able to get their second straight win after a solid performance against Nichols College yesterday at Walter M. Katz Field. The final score was 3-0.

With the win, the Colonels (2-1) held onto their third place spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings. They improved their undefeated streak at home to four games and moved to 8-1 overall.

Curry out played the Nichols Bison throughout the game.

Curry doubled the firepower of the Nichols offense, out-shooting them 22-11. Curry also got more scoring chances totaling nine corner kicks on the afternoon.

The only stat that the Bisons matched Curry in was fouls, as both teams collected two yellow cards apiece. There were 21 total fouls tallied between the two teams, which is the most fouls in regulation time for the Colonels this season (their season high was 26 fouls in an overtime win on Sept. 12 against Salem State).

Head coach Jason Tassinari spoke about the officiating after the game, “When the ref calls fouls for doing what (the Curry players) should do, it irritates me,” he said, “So I tried my best to let the referee know that I thought the fouls were a little soft.”

The Colonels secured this win with the help of junior forward Korinna Tsonis.

Korinna Tsonis led the Lady Colonels in scoring. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS.
Korinna Tsonis led the Lady Colonels in scoring. // PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS.

Tsonis scored the first goal at the 17 minute mark, after a misplay by Nichols’ senior goalkeeper Kelly English, leading to Tsonis’ sliding one timer.

Before Nichols could recoup from the early 1-0 deficit, Tsonis scored again, this time coming on a corner kick. Senior Colonel defender Kendall Fox was able to use her head to find the ball and Tsonis found the ricochet, putting a header into the back of the net in the 19’ minute.

Tsonis leads the Colonels with seven goals this season. Tsonis shot another five times looking for her first ever hat trick, but it was to no avail.

Always a team player, Tsonis doesn’t care about her individual success, “I don’t really care about that stuff to be honest,” Tsonis said. “I love my team, and they killed it out there.”

Ten minutes after the second goal, Nichols pulled English from the game subbing in freshman goalkeeper, Brook Downey.

Curry’s goalkeeping continued to be a strength as junior goalie Morgan Scott was able to record her fifth shutout with ten saves that day.

Curry was able to control the tempo into the second half and put the game out of reach with a goal in the 79th minute. A pass from senior Mary Blythe to the feet of sophomore Samantha McGrath, led to McGrath’s first goal of the season.

Change is working: Coach Tassinari talked about the night-and-day difference in Tsonis’s play, “This year she is more fit than last year,” Tassinari said. “She came into preseason this year, looked different, moving better, moving quicker.” Tassinari and Tsonis both agreed that her switch from midfield to forward is the key factor to her new play.

Road Trip: The Colonels are on a hot streak, with an 8-1 overall record. Next they face a three game road trip that will start off with Newbury College (3-4), Sept. 29 at 8p.m. After that, they head to Gordon (2-4-1) and Maine Maritime (1-5-1).