WSOC: Freshman keeper Nolan grows on, off field in first collegiate season

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Anthony Goss

ST. BONAVENTURE, — Though the St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team’s 2020-21 campaign was far from ideal, the team might have found a key piece for the program going forward.

Freshman goalkeeper Mackenzie Nolan stepped into the net for Bona and started all eight games in a condensed season. For Nolan, the decision to play for SBU was an easy one. 

“I knew that this was the right school for me when I was sitting one day watching them practice, I was listening to hard they were pushing each other,” Nolan said. “That on top of the beautiful scenery…. I was just completely sold.” 

Bona finished 0-8 on the season, with all loses coming against the same three opponents (Saint Louis, Duquesne and Dayton).  

“Being a goalkeeper, it is kind of defeating to get scored on, especially for some games to be 5-1 or 4-0,” Nolan said. 

Nonetheless, Nolan, a native of Hilton, New York, found relief in the experience the season gave she and her teammates. 

“I know that right now, we are a very young team, and I have lots of up for us in the future when we become more experienced together,” Nolan said. “I would never put my head down on a season like this because I know it’s only going to make us better.” 

While the Bonnies did not find much success in the win column, Nolan used the season to develop her game.  

“I started off with my positioning being a little rough,” Nolan said. “That’s one thing my coach and I have been working on in our training is cutting of the angle and getting ready for the shot.” 

Nolan also worked on other areas of improvement such as her grip on the ball, increasing the distance of her punts and enhancing her vertical leap.

More than just technical work though, she saw herself developing into a leader despite her inexperience compared to some of her teammates.

“Being a freshman, I am a little hesitant to be a leader off the field, but I think that is something I can definitely grow into,” Nolan said. “Even coming in here next year as a sophomore, I know what it feels like to be walking into a team that feels older. I can be that leader and push the freshmen because I know where they are coming from.” 

Nolan also noted the necessity of developing vocal leadership skills given her position on the field. 

“As a goalkeeper, you definitely have to be a leader,” Nolan said. “You have to use your voice. I’ve found that my voice a lot of times has prevented shots on goal and has helped us very much.” 

Nolan credited her development in the net to assistant coach Abby Pearson. 

“She has taken that extra time to really focus on my skills,” Nolan said. “She likes to pull apart lots of things that are easy fixes.” 

Embarking on this strange season gave the team a limited experience according to Nolan. However, she has embraced this group despite the adversity they faced. 

“My experience, from what I’ve been told, has been limited,” Nolan said. “Regardless, I don’t know any difference, so I’ve enjoyed what I’ve experienced so far. I’ve gotten really close with the team; they treat each other like family.” 

One can only hope for a season closer to normal next fall, but Nolan’s improvements as a player and a leader will be essential for the team’s growth going forward. 

Bona women’s soccer stays competitive with scrimmages

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Tom Doyle

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — The St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team is focused, energized and ready for the spring season. 

Although the Bonnies cannot play against any opposing universities in the fall due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they have been preparing for the possibility of playing in spring with intra-squad scrimmages.   

On Oct. 9, the team played a scrimmage that pitted the “gray” team versus the “white” team, ending in a 2-1 “gray” victory.

Coach Steve Brdarski praised how well his girls played in the scrimmage.   

“From the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage, there were some great individual performances,” Brdarski said. “There were also some great highlights as a group, and as a team.”

The gray team’s offense was led by a duo of sophomores, as Rachel Hutchison and Kasey Hollins each scored a goal. Hutchinson was assisted by freshman Alyssa Spring, while Hollins had the game-winning goal from a corner kick with five minutes to play.

Freshman Lydia Choban scored on an assist from freshman Alexa Martinos for the white team’s lone goal.

“Both groups had some great moments within the 70 minutes that we played,” Brdarski said. “It was very competitive, it was feisty, and I loved the development from a coaching perspective.”  

For the next two weeks, the Bonnies will have unrestricted training and will look to continue to build on what they have been working on. 

“We will hopefully have one more scrimmage here to finish up the fall season, and hope to see some of our best soccer here,” Brdarski said. 

Brdarski, Thompson ready to lead SBU women’s soccer through unusual season

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Sean Casey

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — As summer concludes and falls rolls around, one thing that students at St. Bonaventure University can usually rely on is watching Bonnies athletics.

Women’s soccer, one of Bona’s fall sports that has been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, has been unable to play its usual schedule.

However, the team has still been working and practicing following the university’s safety protocols because when spring rolls around, they want to be ready for the possibility of games.

Head coach Steve Brdarski discussed what his team has been doing over the past several weeks since student-athletes returned to campus.

“I just wanted to have the team back on the field again,” said Brdarski, whose team just missed the Atlantic 10 tournament in 2019 after finishing with a 7-10-1 record.

In a normal year, the team is usually able to meet and get back onto the field in the spring and build chemistry, both on and off the pitch, but that was taken away from them this year due to COVID-19.

One point that Brdarski made clear was that normal spring semesters not just about getting better at soccer, but also getting chemistry off the field as team. 

He said that in the spring, what he enjoys so much is the banter and team bonding that the team is able to have. In his words, it was, “The only thing that I was thinking about.”

Although the team is practicing, it is not under normal circumstances.

“We are split into two different groups, and go on different sides of the field,” said Alex Thompson, a senior defender/midfielder. “We social distance during practice with no contact or scrimmaging.”

Thompson added that the team usually works on foot skills and passing patterns.

“It is definitely not normal practice, but I think we are going to get into that within the next coming weeks,” she said.

Brdarski had high praise for Thompson’s work ethic and leadership, saying that in 23 years of coaching, he has had “very few” players that compete like she does.

“She drives practices in a way, where she kicks everybody, she doesn’t care who you are,” Brdarski said. “If her grandmother was on the field, she would be kicking her.”

Appreciating the praise, Thompson laughingly said, “Not my grandma.”

Brdarski said that he has been proud of the way his team has found ways to compete with one another despite the special circumstances. He mentioned that the team has a six-week window on how to run the program, progressing more each week.

“We have been really impressed with them because they want the opportunity to kick each other and they want the opportunity to just play,” Brdarski said. “But we, as a coaching staff, are super proud of our girls because they are doing everything we ask.”

With no one on this team, or the entire country, used to practicing amid a global pandemic, you can imagine how it could be difficult to stay focused and engaged. 

Thompson, one of two seniors on the team, has been a leader throughout the entire process. 

“The main thing that me and Dareion (Marrison, a fellow senior) have tried to do is just make the freshmen as comfortable as possible, and also try to keep everyone motivated,” Thompson said.

She said that they have been sending the team inspirational quotes every day to keep spirits high.

With all the bizarre things going on right now, Thompson talked about the little things that have been strange.

“Being here in the fall, I haven’t missed a class yet, which is crazy because I am usually missing classes for games, and I haven’t traveled once so it is very different,” she said.

Brdarski made sure to clarify Thompson’s statement, saying, “Let’s just be clear about what she said there. She usually misses class for games, not because she is not waking up.”  

Going forward, Brdarski is confident in his team’s ability to respond to the adversity surrounding this season.

““Some of the challenges we face in practice is our girls are used to working hard and used to competing,” he said. “So, I think what has been interesting for us as coaches is having to recreate those pictures.”

Marra lifts Bona women over Richmond in OT

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

The St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team won 2-1 in an overtime thriller against the Richmond Spiders on Sunday.

This puts the Bonnies at 5-8-1 on the season and also gives them their first conference win. 

The first score of the game came from Richmond’s Alyssa Walker in the 30th minute. 

The Bonnies would not capitalize on any scoring opportunities presented to them in the first half, leaving them trailing 1-0 at halftime.

While scoring was a problem for St. Bonaventure in the first half, the rest of the game would yield a different story. 

The second half is where the Bonnies would find the goal they needed.

Junior forward Isabelle LaBarbera put on a show for this goal with just over ten minutes left to play in the game. 

LaBarbera made a great dribble move past a defender and sent the shot. The ball bounced off of the crossbar and fall in the goal, tying the game 1-1. 

Both teams would push to find the back of the net in the final minutes, but at the end of regulation, the scoreboard still read 1-1. 

In overtime, it wouldn’t take long for the Bonnies to score. Senior midfielder Bella Marra beat the goalkeeper 29 seconds into the overtime period to end the game. 

“We had a really good week of practice,” SBU coach Steve Brdarski said. “We had good energy, and players were out there trying to do the things that we were asking of them. I think it’s super important for our group to train the way that we want to play.

“This is our first conference win, so that makes it extra special. Richmond is a real good team. Obviously, when you get into overtime, it’s a brutal way to lose a game but it’s an amazing way to win a game.” 

The Bonnies will look to keep their winning streak alive Thursday night when they play Rhode Island at home at 7 p.m. 

Women’s soccer falls to Dayton

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

The St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team (4-7-1) lost 10 at home against Dayton (4-6-2) on Thursday night. 

The Dayton goal came when a header from Alexis Goins found the net in the 16th minute. 

This goal would be all Dayton needed, as neither team was able to score for the rest of the game. 

Bonnies midfielder Amber Achladis found a shot on goal in the 39th minute, but was saved by Dayton goalkeeper Carly Becker. 

Dayton generated many more opportunities than the Bonnies. Dayton would see a total of six shots on goal throughout the game, while St. Bonaventure only had one. 

One penalty card was pulled during the game. SBU’s Kacie Fillian drew a yellow card in the 38th minute.

This game would go down to the wire at the end of the second half.

In the last minute of the game, the Bonnies had a golden opportunity with a corner kick by forward Bella May. However, the shot was blocked, leaving time expired. 

Head coach Steve Brdarski spoke after the game about the team’s loss 

The first twenty minutes of the game, we just didn’t have enough energy and not enough pressure,” Brdarski said. “At the end of the day, the coaching staff didn’t do a good enough job getting ourselves prepared for the first twenty minutes of the game and in the end it comes down to that one play right there.” 

The Bonnies will look to improve their record on Sunday when they play at Saint Louis University. 

We have probably the toughest 72 hours we could have,” Brdarski said. “They’re the number one team in the conference right now. Playing them on the road doesn’t do us any justice and that’s going to be a tough game.” 

Brdarski also talked briefly about the week-long break the Bonnies have between their Sunday game against St. Louis and their game against Richmond. 

 We need the week,” he said. “We’ve been losing a lot of close games. Last Sunday, we were in North Carolina and then came home to play, and now we’re getting ready to jump on the road again to Saint Louis. That’s going to do its damage on us.” 

Brdarski said that injuries over the last three games has affected his team.

“What we need is a week to recover and be able to be ready for our next game,” he said.

Filian’s two goals lead Bonnies over Merrimack

photo courtesy of gobonnies.sbu.edu

By Hayden Robinson

On Sunday, the St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team defeated Merrimack at home, 2-1.

The Bonnies improved their season record to 4-4 and their home record to 3-0 with the win.

Kacie Filian led the way for the Bonnies with two goals.

It was a defensive battle throughout the first half. Both teams went back and forth down the field, each trying to find the weak point of the other. 

St. Bonaventure goalkeeper Lauren Malcolm led the game with nine saves, seven of them coming in the first half.

The second-half scoring started in the 69th minute of the game. 

After the Bonnies earned a corner kick, senior forward Bella May gave Filian, a sophomore mid, a perfect pass for her to find the back of the net. 

From there, all it took was seven minutes for the Bonnies to march back and score again, when Filian was on the receiving end of freshman defender Kenzie Tarmino’s assist. 

Merrimack would soon follow with a goal of their own in the 80th minute by Katelyn Richardson. 

Merrimack continued to try and fight their way back into the game, but the Bonnies defense held onto the lead till the final buzzer.

Head coach Steve Brdarski spoke after the game about his team’s win. 

“At the end of the day, we were able to come back and come after them and do the things we needed to do,” Brdarski said. “We’re 3-0 this year at home. I don’t know if we’ve ever done that in my seven years here, so I think it’s important to say that.”  

Brdarski said that at halftime, talking about some of the things that they did and didn’t accomplish in the first half fueled the win.

“We didn’t come out the first 45 minutes with the effort we’ve played in the last two or three games,” Brdarski said. “We challenged them to give more work, more effort, be better on the ball and then to be a little bit gritty. I think we got that grit.”

Filian’s two goals in the game were also her first of the season. 

When asked what was working for her during the game, she said, “We had some in the first half that we didn’t finish so I knew we had to get on the end of them.

“Our defense held us together and it was nice to finally be able repay for them for all the hard work they have been doing in the backline.”

The Bonnies will look to improve to above .500 on Sept. 22 when they travel to Fordham to take on the Rams.

Women’s soccer: Bonnies falter in 4-1 loss to Dukes

(Maddie Mason Photo Credit: GoBonnies.com)

By Mike Rodriguez @10mrodriguez

The St. Bonaventure women’s soccer team lost its third consecutive conference game last night, as Duquesne pulled away with a 4-1 victory.

The Dukes struck early with a goal from Katie O’Connor in the 15th minute, followed by a goal by Linnea Faccenda in the 23rd. Duquesne had control offensively throughout the first half, as the Bonnies only had three shots on goal.

Bonnies head coach Steve Brdarski stressed that his team wasn’t on the same energy level as its opponent in the first half.

“I don’t think we matched Duquesne,” Brdarski said, “They had too much time on the ball, and more importantly, they were working off the ball.”

It wasn’t until the second half that the Bonnies began to show life with a goal from freshman defender Maddie Mason in the 50th minute. Despite the Bonnies’ early goal, Duquesne struck back three minutes later with its third goal of the night, coming from Abby Losco. The Dukes continued to hold defensively and tallied on another goal by Casey Aunkst on a penalty kick in the 81st.

Although it was a tough game for Brdarski and his team, he made it clear that losses like those can fire up and motivate a group of players to move on and focus on their next opponent.

“Going into Sunday’s game, what you hope that comes out of this game is that you get pissed off, that you get upset, and that you want to prove something,” Brdarski said. “It all comes down to when you get to the next game and it’s a matter of being able to execute.”

The Bonnies next game will be at home against Fordham this Sunday, where they hope to end their losing streak and get their first win in conference play.

Soccer: Stats and facts entering conference play

By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio

As September readies to give way to October, non-conference soccer action is about to give way to conference play.

The St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s soccer teams were both handed the lowest of expectations by league coaches in the preseason, as both were picked to finish last in the Atlantic 10.

The Bona men did not dispel the coaches’ lack of confidence in the first month, going 1-7-1 and scoring just five goals. Davidson and Saint Louis are the only other A-10 teams to have only one victory, but those teams played multiple power conference opponents. SBU’s 1-0 win over Niagara showed the team has potential to win close games.

The women aren’t title contenders, but they did score 10 goals in a two-game stretch as part of a 15-goal, three-win non-conference slate. They were shut out in three consecutive games after that scoring barrage, but a 2-1 win in their last contest against Bryant got them back on track for the time being.

Here are some notable stats and facts as the Bonaventure teams enter the A-10 schedule:

Leading scorers: Junior Danielle Vis leads the women in goals with four, while freshman Jacob Dyck and junior Kieran Toland lead the men with two each.

Keepers: A Bona goalie tops each A-10 saves per game leaderboard. Sophomore Luke Iacobellis has averaged 5.83 saves per match, while freshman Lauren Malcolm is averaging 5.44 stops per contest. Malcolm also leads in overall saves with 49.

Improvements: Two returning women’s players have already scored more than last year. Sophomore Marley Jarvis did not score in her freshman season but has three goals in the 2016 campaign, second on the team. Junior Alex Pochop registered the first goal of her career in the win over Niagara on Sept. 4.

Road woes: The teams are a combined 0-9 away from the Marra Athletic Complex this season.

First goal importance: The men have allowed the first goal in six of their seven losses. The women have scored first in all three of their wins.

Coming attractions: The first four teams the men face (St. Joe’s, Duquesne, Davidson and UMass) have a combined record of 11-22-3. The first four teams the women face (George Mason, George Washington, Duquesne and Fordham) have combined to go 21-12-3.