In her third year as head coach of the youthful Gators, Cory Kinsella brings in 11 new faces to a team that added eight newcomers a year ago while looking to continue making progress in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.
Most notably, sophomore Alicia Grenier (right, Swansea, MA/Joseph Case) returns from a team that improved to 3-11-2 in 2008. Grenier took the GNAC by storm as a rookie, arriving and instantly becoming one of the leading scorers in the league. A physical force with excellent control of the ball, Grenier finished third in league in shots per game (4.81), seventh in goals (11), seventh in goals per game (0.69) and ninth in points per game (1.44), leading the Gators in all categories.
Also returning is sophomore Kasey Jeronimo, a Third-Team All-GNAC selection a year ago. A prep teammate of Grenier at Case High, Jeronimo earned her accolades as one of the Gators toughest, most versatile, consistent competitors as a freshman. The midfielder played all over the field for Kinsella, persevering through injuries to play in all 1,480 minutes of the Gators season.
A starter in all 16 contests last season, Beth Deegan (Philadelphia, PA/Little Flower Catholic School for Girls) returns to solidify the Gators defense. Deegan brings size, speed and, perhaps most importantly, experience to Kinsella’s defense. Along with Jeronimo and departed senior defender Natalie Hunt, Deegan, who ranked third on the Gators with four points last season, was one of only three players to start all 16 games.
Leading the way among the near-dozen new faces is midfielder Amanda Smalley (Maple Shade, NJ/Maple Shade). A first-team All-Burlington (NJ) County selection as a senior, Smalley joins Jeronimo, sophomore Christina Santos (Pawtucket, RI/St. Raphael Academy) and returning senior Michelle Myers (Freeport, NY/Freeport) to round out a speedy midfield.
For the second year in a row, Kinsella will look to a first-year keeper in goal. With sophomore Kayla Nielsen, who finished 19th in the nation with 11.86 saves per game last season, sidelined following knee surgery, Colleen Tencza (South Meriden, CT/Orville Platt) assumes the duties. Based on her prep career, Tencza looks plenty ready to take over where Nielsen left. The 5-4 freshman set the Orville Platt High School single-season record for shutouts, with eight. She will compete for time in net with Aisha Ervin, a freshman from nearby Hull, MA.
New to the roster are three juniors are among the 11 newcomers. Jess Kennedy (Lakeville, MA/Apponequet Regional), a two-year starter at Dean College, leads the way among the juniors and looks to join Deegan in shoring up the defense in front of Tencza. Back after a year hiatus is Vanessa Kelly, a senior forward who earned 13 starts in 16 contests in 2007, while junior newcomers Samantha Achenbach (Rock Springs, WY/Rock Springs) and Leslie Tejeda (Boston, MA/West Roxbury) also add experience to an otherwise young roster.
Kinsella’s Gators take open up with a four-game homestand, taking on Simmons on Wednesday, September 2 and playing host to Southern Vermont on Saturday, September 5 at 1 p.m.
Tue, September 1, 2009
by Sports Information