Women’s Soccer Preview: Returning and Recruited Talent Have Hawks Optimistic for 2019

Becker captains, (From L to R): Alana Garofolo, Kyra Teixeira, and Shannon Kelley

LEICESTER, Mass. – The Hawks find themselves in an enviable position in 2019; a pool of returning players providing the foundation to their line up matched with a group of new recruits to add depth to the bench.

The Hawks trio of captains, senior Kyra Teixeira (Old Lyme, Conn.), junior Shannon Kelley (Bellingham, Mass.) and sophomore Alana Garofalo (Berlin, Conn.) are just a few names in the foundation.

Teixeira returns following a season of five goals and two assists for the Hawks in 19 games. In her final season, Teixeira hopes the team chemistry will lead to wins.

"I want to play as a team more and have the chemistry in order to win the games," said Teixeira. "We want to get back to the championship game and we'll do that playing as a team instead of individually."

Kelley makes her way back to Becker for her second season as a Hawk. In 2018, Kelley was second on the team with six goals and 25 points, while leading the team in assists with 13.

"Going into this season I'm going to continue the hard work like I did last season," said Kelley. "I want to be a bigger force up top and try and score more than last year."

Kelley's playmaking ability led her to the eighth-most assists among all NCAA Division III players last season.

The Hawks defensive midfield is in good hands with Garofalo returning in 2019. The sophomore was only one of two players to start and play in all 21 games for Becker last season. The second-year holding midfielder looks to bring even more to the team this season.

"My biggest thing is constant communication," said Garofalo. "We've already shown this year that we have more chemistry, we all get along, and talk more. We've gotten to a place where we are all comfortable with each other."

The Hawks triumvirate of captains will lead several impact returners and recruits into the new season. The backline features junior Mariposa Nash-Gibney (Burlington, Vt.) and sophomore Rebecca Beringer (Waterville, Maine). Beringer, along with Garofalo, were the only two Hawks to start all 21 games last season.

Third-year head coach Anthony Cosky knows how important his team's defense will be to their success this season.

"We're still trying to see what formation we're going with this season," said Cosky. "But, (Mariposa) was our leader in the back last season at center back. Rebecca and Emily Campbell (Blackstone, Mass.) we're also huge for us defensively."

The Hawks added junior Diana Whittier (Sutton, Mass.), described by Cosky as a solid center back who could come into a large role if the Hawks go with two center backs in 2019. Last season, Becker surrendered the third-fewest goals in the New England Collegiate Conference.

The last line of defense, sophomore goalie Lyndsey Cobb-Wilkins (Elmira, N.Y.) returns following a rookie season with 14 starts, a 5-6-2 record, and 1.35 goals against average; third-best in the conference.

Senior Meghan Ballentine (Gardner, Mass.) and juniors Alyson Eldridge (Chesterfield, N.H.) and Chelsea Sedar (Bridgewater, Mass.) have made a strong impression on Cosky and the team in training early this season.

"Meghan is looking very good this year and Alyson has come in stronger and faster," said Cosky. "Chelsea has also improved and we're looking for contributions from those three, along with many others this season."

Becker returns 13 players from last season's squad and adds seven new recruits, rounding out the 20-women roster.

The Hawks get their season underway on Saturday, August 31 at home with a noon match against Anna Maria at Alumni Field.

Saturday will mark only the fourth game played in August in program history and the first since 2014.