Buffalo, NY - Looking to build off of a successful 2017 season, the D'Youville women's soccer team will be turning to their veteran players to help lead this season's young team.
Following a slow start to last season by going 2-6-2 in the month of September, the Spartans went into Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs with a 7-7-3 overall record and a 5-3-1 conference record. In the first round, the team hosted the La Roche Redhawks and defeated them 2-1, advancing to semi-finals. Unfortunately, the team could not continue their run against Penn State-Behrend - the eventual conference champions - in the AMCC semi-finals and did not advance by way of shoot out after a 0-0 tie.
Down the stretch of last season, the women went 5-1-1 in their final seven games and were led by a pair of now seniors. Goalkeeper Megan Dulniak (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) earned AMCC Second Team All-Conference honors at season's end and had a program record 28 saves against Behrend in the AMCC semi-finals. Senior defender Magan Magee (Ellenburg Center, NY/Northern Adirondack) earned AMCC Third Team All-Conference after transitioning from midfield earlier in the year to form a formidable defense.
On offense, sophomore forward Makenna Magee (Ellenburg Center, NY/Northern Adirondack) had a fantastic freshman season by leading the team in goals, points, and shots while she was also second in assists. She will be the top threat up top for the Spartans but also in the AMCC as she was named an AMCC Second Team All-Conference selection and AMCC Newcomer of the Year last season.
Several juniors will be relied on even more from last season to now. Brittany Cristofanelli (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) and Marina Campbell (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Catholic) will be asked to be leaders now, but their production from years past has them poised to take the next step forward.
Back to help on defense from last season are Dominique Riforgiato (Fredonia, NY/Fredonia), Jordyn Riedel (Marilla, NY/Iroquois), Rachel McMahan (Grand Island, NY/Sacred Heart Academy), and Alexandra Samson (Hadley, NY/Hadley-Luzerne). Senior Jennifer Hoffman (Perrysburg, OH/St. Ursula Academy) will add goal scoring abilities as well.
Rounding out the offensive returners include Isabella Lucania (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder), Cassandra Brooks (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island), Victoria Mayer (Fairport, NY/Fairport), and Kaylee Heschke (Newfane, NY/Newfane) - who each saw time in the starting 11 and plenty of minutes throughout the season. Megan Taylor (Worchester,NY/ Worchester Central) adds depth to the roster in her second season as well.
Looking to make an impact in their first season as Spartans are transfers Bayley Balch (Kenmore, NY/Kenmore West) and Jamiliah McBryde (Buffalo, NY/Erie CC). Each offer unique skillsets that will be useful to the growing squad.
Hoping to make names for themselves at D'Youville are freshman Jordyn James (Brighton, NY/Brighton), Natalie Burt (Cuba,NY/ Cuba-Ruahford), Anna Hayes (Hamburg, NY/Mt. St. Mary's Academy), Maggie Leeds (Lockport, NY/Akron), Laurie Poeller (Akron, NY/Akron), Katelyn Eigenbrod (Arcade, NY/Pioneer), McKenzie Gardner (Portville, NY/Portville), Clarice Bryne (Hamburg,NY/Hamburg), and Lizzie Priest (Fairport,NY/Fairport). Each hopes to crack the starting lineup and produce - given the opportunity.
The women start their season Friday, August 31 at Dobson Field against Waynesburg as they host the Spartan Classic at 5:30pm following the first game of the tournament (Hilbert vs. Potsdam). They come back Saturday to face Potsdam at 12pm before game play comes to an end at 2:30pm when Waynesburg and Hilbert close out the tournament.