Captains for this year’s team include Caitlyn Nolan, Danielle Fontaine, Caroline Coleman and Magdalene O’Hayer, all mid-fielders. Pickford said the group ran captains’ practices during the summer while many players also took advantage of private training and conditioning.
“We’ve got a lot of depth nine through twelve, so I think the program is in good shape that way,” Pickford said.
Last week’s practices were the team’s first official sessions of the fall season. Pickford said these initial workouts made it seem like there would be some tough decisions ahead with plenty of talent looking for a roster spot.
“It’s about putting pieces in the puzzle at this point and trying to make decisions that are going to be in the best interest of the program both short term and long term,” said Pickford.
In 2011, the girls’ soccer team came up one game shy of the post season, losing to Prout in a tiebreaker match that ended with a shoot-out. Over the last 10 years, the program has experienced varying levels of success in the playoffs. In 2010 and 2009 the team was bounced from the state D-I title tournament in the quarterfinals. Its deepest runs in recent years have come in 2007, 2004 and 2002, all of which ended with semi-final losses.
From last fall to this season, Pickford said the team lost three starting defenders and its two leading scores to graduation. This doesn’t, however, make the upcoming season a rebuilding year. Pickford said he expects the team to have strength in its mid-field. He added that players are expected to sit down in the near future to establish short-and-long-term goals for both themselves and the group as a whole.
“We do that as a team every year,” he said.
“We will make goals we think are attainable. Without going into too many details because we haven’t done it yet, we’re expecting to be very competitive this year.”
Pickford said that while there are a handful of other programs around Rhode Island he anticipates will have solid showings this season, there isn’t one game on the schedule more important than another. This year’s schedule includes 14 regular season games, or a single match with every Division I team.
The team’s first unofficial games of the season came last Saturday when a handful of other squad’s from around the state came to town for an annual jamboree.
The team’s first official game is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6 at North Kingstown.