Women’s Soccer Captures Second-Consecutive Championship
By Raymond Gurbisz
The Kean University women’s soccer team once again reached success, winning its second consecutive ECAC Division III Metro Women’s Soccer Championship after topping No. 1 seeded Richard Stockton College 3-2 on Nov. 17.
The Cougars capped off their season with an impressive 12-6-3 record, after powering their way through the ECAC Metro Tournament over the weekend and defeating Mt. St. Mary College in the semi-finals before reaching Richard Stockton College.
“They accomplished something. They can feel good about bringing a championship to Kean University,” said head coach Brian Doherty. “They fought through adversity. Every championship comes with some type of adversity, and along the way they reached many of their team goals set out at the start of the season.”
Throughout the tournament, standout-senior Shannon Pedersen was an essential part of the Cougars’ success. Pedersen captured the New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week award and also was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In the championship game, all three goals for the Cougars involved Pedersen. She assisted on the first and third goals of the game, also scoring the second goal which put Kean up 2-1.
“Shannon had an enormous impact on us all year long and had her biggest impact during the biggest game of the year,” Doherty said. “She was a leader on the team for us all year and lead by example, the type of player and person that is highly motivated and sets high standards for herself on and off the field and meets those standards.”
Other key offensive players during the season included junior Sam Marchetti and sophomore Angie Lopez. Marchetti tallied a team-high 23 points for the Cougars, punching in nine goals and five assists. Lopez also had 22 points of her own, scoring a team-high 10 goals and adding two assists.
Aside from just the success achieved in the tournament, a lot of preparation went into the team’s overall success this season, starting with a pre-season 10 day trip to Canada which included a lot of running, conditioning and team bonding. Doherty explained that the building of relationships throughout the whole year was an essential part of the the team’s success as well, believing that a championship is a “culmination of the years’ work”, not just the days leading up to the event.
With the team now winning back-to-back ECAC Championships, the Cougars will have high expectations going into next season. The team will look to endure the same success in the ECAC tournament as its had the past two seasons, building off the same strategies that made the team so tightly knit.
“I expect my team to get better,” Doherty said. “Improve every day, be a strongly bonded team, and put the team first and set some goals that will help us do those things.”