The Buccaneer women’s soccer team starts a new era today, as they kick off their 30th season against the Georgia College Bobcats at Buccaneer Field. The 15 returning Bucs welcome 10 new players and some new coaches for the opener.
“Being the head coach at Barry, first and foremost, is a privilege, it’s a dream come true,” new head coach Denise Brolly said. “I think [the players] are excited about the challenge too. They never look back. I have only great things to say about all the players.”
The Bucs went 7-7-2 in 2012 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th time in school history, most among NCAA Division II programs.
“I’ve seen the expectations for the group grow every day,” Brolly said. “I’ve seen them grow in confidence. I see their team morale. When you have a happy group and they’re doing the right things in training, it’s a good recipe.”
Becca Rogers (Jr., Pembroke Pines, FL)
Morgan Rivera (Fr., Miramar, FL
The Bucs’ strength comes in the back line, anchored by three-year starter Becca Rogers in goal. After winning the keeping job as a freshman, Rogers played every minute in goal as a sophomore, posting a 1.21 goals against average and five shutouts. Her 80.4 percent save percentage was third in the conference.
Morgan Rivera, from powerful high school program American Heritage, brings a winning tradition after leading the Patriots to three state titles in four years. She posted a 0.31 goals against average and eight shutouts as a senior.
Natalie Diaz (Jr., Hidden Valley Lake, CA)
Leanna Baez (Fr., Yorktown, VA)
Danielle Mabie (Sr., Irvine, CA)
Alexia Clark (So., Miami, FL)
Katrina Molfetta (Sr., Laguna Niguel, CA)
Maya Pun (Fr., Boca Raton, FL)
Kayla Nanoo (So., Rancho Cordova, CA)
Aleja Sanchez (Fr., Bogota, Columbia)
Aly Picasio (So., Farmingville, NY)
Katie Turner (Fr., Las Vegas, NV)
Amber Smith (So., Booneboro, MD)
Chandler Yoder (Fr., Las Vegas, NV)
Tamara Vuckovich (So., New York, NY)
The defensive line returns seven players who made at least three starts and a red-shirt who started six games in 2011. Katrina Molfetta leads the bunch. The senior from California has made 25 starts in 42 appearances. She has a great work rate and an endless supply of energy. Tamara Vuckovich made 12 starts as a freshman before being sidelined by injury, but has returned healthy this fall. She is a strong defender with a natural left foot and will be one of the leaders of the team.
Others who contributed along the back are senior Danielle Mabie, junior Natalie Diaz and sophomores Kayla Nanoo, Aly Picasio and Amber Smith.
Among the newcomers, sophomore Alexia Clark brings a year of college experience from St. Thomas in 2011. Freshman Katie Turner has made a push to start as a freshman. An athletic player with good speed, she gives options at several positions. Fellow freshmen Leanna Baez, Maya Pun, Aleja Sanchez and Chandler Yoder help stiffen the defense as well.
Morgan Garcia (Sr., Rio Lindo, CA)
Ashley Harlan (Jr., Thornton, CO)
Sara Karna (Jr., Nuppulinna, Finland)
Karla Monge (Fr., Miami, FL)
Dominique Richardson (Jr., Hamilton Parrish, Bermuda)
Laura Rockel (So., Miami, FL)
Chelsea Stoeckigt (Sr., Aurora, IL)
In the midfield, Sara Karna leads the returners, after tying for the team lead in goals and assists last year. The junior from Finland brings speed and tenacity to the attack.
Senior Chelsea Stoeckigt, in her second year in the midfield, brings size and strength to help the Bucs maintain ball control. Fellow senior Morgan Garcia, who is coming off an injury, brings an attacking mentality. Junior Dominique Richardson, who split time between midfield and defense last year, is another big player who will give the Bucs an advantage. Sophomore Laura Rockel brings speed and nose for the goal.
Two newcomers look to make an impact. Junior Ashley Harlan, who started two seasons on defense for Minnesota-Mankato, one of the top teams in Division II, is a natural leader with excellent speed and decision making. Freshman Karla Monge is a gifted technical player with tremendous vision and eye for the game.
Several of the defenders, including Vuckovich, Diaz and Smith, also have the ability to step up into the midfield.
Lauren Manna (Jr., Martinsville, NJ)
Jojo Frigerio (Jr., Milan, Itlay)
Lavinia Nkomo (So., Southampton, England)
Junior Lauren Manna leads the contingent at forward. She tied for the team lead in goals last season and was one off the pace on assists. She also had two goals wiped out when the North Alabama game was cancelled due to weather, after she scored twice against the Lions in the first 19 minutes.
Sophomore Lavinia Nkomo, who tied for the team lead in assists, returns for her second season. A very fast and skillful attacker, she can create opportunities for her teammates as well as finish.
Junior transfer Jojo Frigerio was one of the top scorers in the second division of the junior college ranks last season. She tallied 27 goals for Iowa Central CC, which led the nation in scoring.
Midfielders Karna and Rockel could also see time up top.
“I was an attacking player and I hope to bring that mentality to the team,” Brolly said. “When we go forward, we want to attack with numbers and we want to do it with a vengeance.”