After just missing their goal of making the playoffs in their third season as a program at Suffolk, the women’s soccer team is now out for revenge. This season, the team is determined to make the playoffs and win their conference. With the help of junior forward Leslie Hayden, they are on the right path to achieving their goals.
Ranked seventh nationally in NCAA Division III play, Hayden averaged 1.33 goals per game last season.
“I am in awe to watch her on the field,” said head coach Ernst Cleophat, who is entering his fourth season as head coach of the team. “When I [first] saw her play, I knew this young lady would take our conference by storm.”
Hayden also set the regular season record for goals in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference with 17 in 2009. Thus far, she has two already under her belt. Even with these accomplishments, Hayden leads with a humble attitude.
“She has matured a lot this year. She follows instructions well and I always admire her humbleness,” said Cleophat. “She gets her teammates involved and she doesn’t have a big ego. She never wants the focus just on her; she knows it’s a team game which is very impressive for her age.”
To start off the season, the women’s team competed in a friendly scrimmage against Wellesley College, who is considered one of the top programs in Division III soccer. The team fought hard, finishing the game in a 2-2 tie.
“They went after Wellesley like they would be insulted if they scored on us,” explained Cleophat.
Suffolk women’s soccer is now 1-1-0 in the conference and 3-1-1 overall. They are currently fifth in the very competitive GNAC conference. The team tied Eastern Nazarene 0-0 in two overtimes to open up the season on September 4. They then traveled to New Hampshire to crush Daniel Webster College, 4-0, with two goals apiece coming from Hayden and freshman forward Taylor Miranda.
The team lost their only game of the young season to Lasell College on September 11 by a score of 0-4. “Three [Suffolk] starters were injured for this game, but if they could play, it would have been different,” reasoned Cleophat.
As of now, two of the three injured starters have recovered. On September 15, the girls were, according to their head coach, “all over Simmons College,” ultimately winning the contest 5-2.
The team also had an impressive outing against conference opponent Emmanuel, winning the important match 6-2.
Simmons, however, was last year’s GNAC champions. Cleophat explained, “we are sending a big signal to our conference rivals from last year. All I can say is bring it on.
They know they can get the job done. I have confidence they can do it. If we come out with the same intensity and same hunger, we will be unstoppable.”