This year may be the culmination of a four-year process in which B-G has transformed from young and overmatched, to experienced and among the top teams in the league.
Head coach Cindy Cifone said nine seniors make up this year’s club, and most have been with her on the varsity since their freshman and sophomore seasons. “We’re looking for a lot of progress this year and a lot more success,” Cifone said.
Fourth-year starting goalie, Megan Ferrara, is back on defense; fullbacks Taylor Palmatier and Taylor Cannistra are also fourth-year players to give the Bobcats a formidable defense.
On the offensive side, Cifone is pointing toward junior Cassidy Graham and Kylie O’Hara as playmakers.
“The team has more confidence now,” Cifone said. “It was a big jump for these kids from modified to varsity three years ago, but it’s been a big learning experience for all of them…making the sectionals this year would be awesome.”
Meghan Benoit, whose first stint has head soccer coach was 10 years ago, returns to the head spot after several seasons away. Since her last season with the Raiders, the team has made the playoffs twice and had one sectional finals appearance. “I’m fortunate to have a great group of girls to coach this year, and they are being very patient with me and my ideas and approaches to the game of soccer,” Benoit said.
Four seniors lead G-MU this year led by Taylor Nichols, Autumn Butler, and Jenna Backhuizen on the offense end, and Meghan Meers on the defensive side. Sophomore Rylee D’Addezio brings skill and stamina to the midfield, and juniors Kelsey Ross, Lexus Coughlin, and Elle MacPherson strengthen the defense.
The last line of defense is junior keeper Katie Schultes, another veteran player from last year. “I’m excited by what I am seeing in the preseason with the speed, work ethic, and eagerness to learn to be better soccer players,” Benoit said. “Honestly, my expectations for the girls is to have fun, learn new things about the game of soccer, and discover new strengths about themselves as soccer players.”