Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - Coming off of a record-setting 2011 season, the Marist Women's Soccer team has high expectations as they kick off their 2012 season on Tuesday, August 21 versus Wagner College. The defending MAAC Champion and 2011 NCAA Tournament competitor, the Red Foxes will be looking to repeat the success from last season. Under the leadership of second-year head coach Kate Lyn, Marist returns 17 letterwinners, including 10 regular starters.
Seniors Jessica Arabia (Naperville, Ill.), Chelsea Botta (East Longmeadow, Mass.), junior Rycke Guiney (Naperville, Ill.), and sophomores Amanda Epstein (Jericho, N.Y.) and Marissa Mertens (Hicksville, N.Y.) return as 2011 All-MAAC honorees and starters for the Red Foxes.
Offensively, Epstein is coming off a 28-point freshman season, which set her in a tie for the highest single-season scoring effort. Her 11 goals and six assist campaign was followed quite closely by Guiney, who registered eight goals and a program-record nine assists as a sophomore. The dynamic scoring duo will be aided by senior Jackie Frey (Monroe, N.Y.) and junior Samantha Panzner (Livingston, N.J.), who return after 11 and 10 point seasons in 2011, respectively.
Defensively, senior captains, Arabia, Botta and Melanie Rigo (Huntington, N.Y.) will continue to be strongholds in the back third. The sophomore class of Mertens, Marjana Maksuti (Delmar, N.Y.) and Jamie Strumwasser (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) also returns to provide strength and size in front of senior goalkeeper Caitlin Landsman (Burke, Va.).
In 2011, Landsman set a Marist Women's Soccer single-season record with a 0.94 goals against average, while posting an 8-2-2 mark. She will be backed up by sophomore Andrea Wicks (East Northport, N.Y.), who found success in the goal with five wins in seven games started as a freshman.
With strong preseasons, freshmen Alysa Murphy (Douglassville, Pa.) and Jessica Fanelli (Katonah, N.Y.) have put themselves into position to see impactful playing time early on in the season. Lyn envisions Murphy teaming with Rigo to give Marist two defensive midfielders, who are able to help the offense in transition. Meanwhile Fanelli will give the Red Foxes important minutes as a wing defender.
Marist's 20-game slate will see the team play a eight home-12 road game schedule. Following their home opening matchup with Wagner on Tuesday, Aug. 21, the team will be on the road for its next five games, and seven of eight. The Red Foxes will be tested in strong non-conference matches against teams, such as Colgate, Fordham, UConn, UPenn and Hofstra. MAAC play begins for the team on Sept. 28 on the road at Canisius and will run through Oct. 28 with a home game versus Rider. Beginning on Nov. 2 and running through Nov. 4, Marist will play host to the 2012 MAAC Championships.