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By Emma Davies
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
The Niagara University Women’s Soccer team received their 2023-24 fall schedule on April 24, and can now prepare accordingly during the upcoming summer months.
The Niagara Women’s Soccer has received a tentative schedule for the 2023-24 season and will kick off their non-conference play at home against Monroe Community College at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 6. The team will then travel to Pittsburgh on Aug. 10 and Minnesota on Aug. 17-20. This non-conference play against Pittsburgh, U. of Minnesota, and St. Thomas University is much different than what the team has seen in previous years. The University at Buffalo has been the first team the squad faces coming out of preseason for the past two seasons, so a change in schedule might cast a different light on the teams start to the season.
Conference play will start on Sept. 17 against Iona University – followed by matches against Marist College, Mount St. Mary’s, Siena College, Manhattan College, and Rider University. The team will conclude their season against local rival Canisius for a battle of the bridge game at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25.
Emma Bough, one of the three newly named captains for the upcoming season, commented on how she feels about the team playing the University at Buffalo later on in the season – Sept. 3, rather than the first game of the season/ non-conference play. She says, “I feel good playing UB later on in the season, we have so many new players coming in and I think the extra time will give us more time to adapt and build more chemistry with one another.”
During the 2022-23 MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Conference Final in Hamden Connecticut, the Quinnipiac Bobcats defeated the Purple Eagles 4-0. The team ended their 2022 season 11-8-1 overall and had three players, two graduating seniors and a fifth-year senior, who were named to the MAAC Championship team.
The team graduated over 10 seniors after last season, and Coach Peter Veltri has named three new captains for the 2023-24 season. The captains are Emily Hahnel, Emma Bough and Molly Tobin. Hahnel is a senior studying economics from Schkopau, Germany who transferred to Niagara from the University of Kentucky. What she is looking forward to most for the 2023-24 season is “having so many new people join the team from all over the world, and to be able to work on our team identity and culture.” She says the team is going to be “young and hungry” and in general she hopes that the team has a “very successful and good season.”
At the end of the 2022-23 season, Hahnel underwent hip surgery and is now working her way back to full capacity training both on and off the turf. She says, “a personal goal for me as a player this season is to improve my game even more and contribute to more goals and assists.” As a captain, she explains that she wants to “have a good influence on the team and be a good role model for the younger players in terms of work ethic and mindset.”
Bough, a junior-forward from Chenango Forks, also comments on the goals she has set for the team as well as herself for the season. She says her main goal is to “get the whole team bought into the idea of team culture and that we want to win a championship.” She wants to “make sure that everyone on the team is all in, that everyone is working their hardest on and off the field and that every individual realizes that they are a family.”
Molly Tobin, the third captain who is a junior defender from Tonawanda, said her hope for the team during the season is that they “create and maintain a good culture and ultimately win a championship.” Her personal goal as a captain is to “provide a good example of what it means to be a team player.”
The team has the skill, and is getting even more of it with new recruits coming in August, they just need to “really hold each other accountable,” says Tobin.
The team has also added a new member to their coaching staff. Kendra Jones, a previous head coach of a Division III program at Washington & Jefferson in Washington, PA, was announced as an assistant coach in late March and will serve as the only assistant coach on the team. It is reported that as a head coach, she led her team to an 23-14-13 overall record, including a 15-10-9 overall record in PAC (President’s Athletic Conference) play.
Maia MacLean, a sophomore-midfielder from Niagara Falls, Ontario., says that she has “never had a female coach before so I am super excited to see how it goes.” She thinks having a female assistant coach will be “beneficial because being a female as well she might understand us more.” MacLean says she already feels comfortable and confident with Jones joining the program.
This addition could be very vital to the team's success in the coming months.
To stay connected with Niagara Women's Soccer on Twitter and Instagram. Follow Niagara Athletics all year long on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and purpleeagles.com. Visit the attached links year- round to get updates on game times and places.
Hahnel’s final comment on the 2023-24 season is that she wants to, “win a championship ring!.”
This is a Niagara University student-created piece completed as part of the course CMS 226A. For more information, contact the Niagara Frontier Publications’ managing editor.