By Chuckie Maggio
When it comes to awards and recognition, the St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s soccer teams have been about as underrated as the scarves women’s coach Steve Brdarski wears on the sidelines.
However, the Bonnies received a well-deserved piece of the spotlight earlier this month. A male player and three female players were named to the Atlantic 10 Soccer Preseason All-Conference teams by CollegeSportsMadness.com.
The sole recipient on the men’s team was senior defender Garrett Pasono, who was named to the second team. He is coming off of a fantastic 2013 season in which he started all 19 games, scored three goals and helped anchor a strong defense that allowed just 30 goals all season.
“It’s very humbling to be considered (for the award) and I’m proud to be a representative for the school and team,” Pasono said. “I’m excited for the season to start and am looking forward to seeing the new faces.”
“We have a pretty tough schedule ahead of us but the ultimate goal is to get to the postseason. Anything can happen from there,” he concluded.
On the women’s side, senior midfielder Brittany Charles was named to the first team, while senior forward Molly Curry and senior defender Alicia Elwell were named to the second.
Charles, who started all 19 games in 2013, has molded into an excellent distributor for this Bonnies squad, with 21 career assists. Her 10 assists last year were one shy of the school’s single-season record shared by alums Patty Boyle, Lisa Deil and Trish Quinn. One of every three goals the Bonnies scored last season was set up by Charles.
“(Brittany’s) ability to take players on 1 v. 1 and deliver great passes is very important to our team,” Brdarski said. “She is in the record books and we are hoping for her to continue that this upcoming season. She has the drive to really help our team attack, and we will look to use that.”
Curry also started all 19 games for the Bonnies last year and scored eight goals, good for a tie with Alyssa Lapp for the team lead as well as fifth-most in the Atlantic 10. Three of the eight were game-winning goals against Canisius, VCU and La Salle, adding to her career total of seven game-winners.
“(Molly’s) composure running through defenses and at goalkeepers is instinctive, and she works tirelessly to press opposing teams,” Brdarski said. “She does a great job of playing several roles for the team and we are lucky to be able to move her into different spots on the field. We will need Molly’s high work rate to help keep opposing defenses off balance and think she will find a way day in and day out to help our team.”
Elwell missed six games last year due to injury, but is always durable and dependable when healthy. In her freshman and sophomore seasons, she appeared in all 20 games for the Brown and White, with two goals and two assists as a frosh. Her strong play as both a midfielder and defender has made it easy for coach Brdarski to pencil her in his starting lineup every match.
“Alicia has been a heart and soul player since I have had the chance to work with her,” Brdarski said. “She has always helped the team get out of tough situations, and when we needed her to switch positions last year she did so to help the team. She went from learning to really making things happen for us in a short time, and she’s been a perfect fit. She always gives our team the right attitude and energy that we need to be our best.”
The seniors were honored to be recognized as three of the top players in the conference.
“The recognition means a lot for all three of us,” Charles said. “Being a Bonnie, we don’t usually get recognized; it’s very humbling and encouraging to see.”
“We’re all excited for the season and to see the nine first-year players fit into the program,” she continued. “We’re also looking forward to some games under the lights.”
“I’m very excited to see our team being given credit for the work we put in last season,” coach Brdarski said. “I think being recognized will only motivate these girls to work harder and finish what they have created over the past three years. They have led this program in many ways and we will rely on them to continue (their leadership) this year as captains.”
The men’s team kicks off the 2014 season with an exhibition game on Thursday, Aug. 21 against the Division III University of Rochester Yellowjackets in Rochester. They play two additional exhibition games at Houghton and vs. LeMoyne before their first official game on Sept. 7 vs Delaware.
The women’s team, predicted to finish fourth in the Atlantic 10 by TopDrawerSoccer.com, begin the season at Buffalo on Friday, Aug. 22 before their first home game on the new turf on Sunday, Aug. 24 vs Kent State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
*The Intrepid will have live coverage of most home games this fall, so be sure to check us out on Twitter @intrepid_sbu