Ranked as the 25th best team in the nation for Division III women’s soccer recently, the Wheaton Lyons hold a 4-3-1 record after a long stretch of games against a tough series of opponents. The team began their season with nine non-conference games in hope of preparing for their first in-conference game against WPI. The team hopes to earn an NCAA tournament bid after the NEWMAC finals.
The team began their season ranked No. 16 overall in the National Soccer Coaches Association Of America (NSCAA) Preseason Poll. The women served as host for their season opener against a strong, nationally ranked Roger Williams University team at Mirrione Stadium. Returning NEWMAC Rookie of Year Julia Cipriano ’16 began her season scoring early in the game, after 16 minutes of play, with a shot from the corner of the box into the left corner of the net. The advantage was held up until the 69th minute followed by a goal from the Hawks in the 83rd minute to finish the game with a 2-1 score line, leaving the Lyons with a disappointing loss in their first game of the campaign.
Their next game was against another NCAA powerhouse, Emory University, which at the time was ranked No. 2 in the nation. This time, it was Kaitlin Montoya ’17 scoring her first career goal for Wheaton off of an assist from Cat Amick ’16. The impressive tally wouldn’t be enough to overcome two goals from the Eagles of Emory leaving the Lyons with another 2-1 defeat at home. The team had a positive response to their first two results as Senior Captain and leading goal scorer, Kristina Braga ’14, with five goals noted the challenge the two opponents gave the Lyons.
“Emory and Roger Williams are both great teams and gave us two good, hard games. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the result but we have a ‘never give up’ mentality on the team. We use the losses as motivation for our next games and also use them to learn from our mistakes.”
It took a trip to Newport, Rhode Island for the Lyons to get their first win of the a season, in a 3-0 thrashing of Salve Regina University. Braga tallied up a couple of goals alongside Kaitlin Montoya ’17, who scored for the second consecutive game to land her first career goals. This vigorous effort would carry on to three more progressive results for the Lyons as they tied Williams 2-2 at home after double overtime, defeated U-Mass Boston in an overtime thriller, and then left their opponents in the dust against Salem State University by three unmatched goals.
Braga says, “Our goal is to always be improving, never complacent, hardworking and, hopefully, that will lead us to success so we can go as far as we possibly can in the season.” In a packed schedule with high caliber opponents, the Lyons still meet a few teams before their NEWMAC opener against WPI at Mirrione Stadium on September 28th.