Lady Rams fall in second-round playoff bout

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Alex Hall
Journal Staff

The women’s soccer team had themselves quite a season. The team posted a 13-3-1 record, and in the process captured the No. 1 seed in the GNAC playoffs for the first time in the program’s history. Unfortunately, the Lady Rams’ spectacular season came to a screeching halt last Sunday night, losing 3-1 to the Emmanuel Saints and their talented freshman Darcy Sullivan.

Despite the Saints’ 10-10 record on the season, this team had won seven of their last 10 contests, and it looked clear during the game that on this given Sunday, Emmanuel had Suffolk’s number. Sullivan was the first to put a goal on the scoreboard, scoring in the 10th minute off a strategic pass from teammate Meghan Zerba. There would be a period of back and forth battles between both offenses, with junior Leslie Hayden and freshman Gabrielle Balestrier doing their best to get the Lady Rams back into the game offensively.

Eventually, after dealing with the Saints’ offensive attacks, the Suffolk defense was able to put the ball in the hands of the offense. Hayden was able to deliver the first and only Suffolk goal of the match off a cross from freshman Monica Wolf. After this score, however, the Saints would dictate the rest of the match, keeping control of the ball offensively and putting the game out of reach with two more goals in the second half, one from Sullivan just 60 seconds after the Hayden header.

Despite the disappointment of an early playoff exit, this is a season that Head Coach Ernst Cleophat and the team’s fans can be proud of.

This team will forever be known as the first women’s soccer team to not only make it to the postseason in their four-year history, but also their first ever appearance as the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. The seniors on this squad, from Emily Joyce to Emma Lobozzo, should all be proud of the season that will mark the end of their careers here at Suffolk. These players, along with the rest of the roster, put the GNAC conference on notice. This is a team that wasn’t even posted in the top-eight of the preseason rankings poll, yet finished the year at the top of the conference. Coach Cleophat and the mix of experience and young talent on this team helped prove to all the skeptics that Suffolk is a team that shouldn’t be overlooked heading into next season.

The 2010 Lady Rams also showed Emmanuel, Emerson, Lasell and the rest of their rivals that Suffolk women’s soccer is no longer a developing team, but a ready and willing group capable of hanging with the best of the best in the GNAC.

Freshman Taylor Miranda lead the team with 21 goals scored on the season and fellow first-year player Gabrielle Balestrier was second to only Leslie Hayden in assists on the season. With these two standouts heading the offense next season, as well returning players such as Erika Ciccariello and Kristina Michael anchoring the Suffolk defense, it would seem that there is every reason for expectations to be high come next fall when the Lady Rams take to the soccer field once again, hoping to bring home the gold for the first time in the history of the women’s program.

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