BY COLIN CANNATA
The Sacred Heart University women’s soccer team opened their Northeast Conference (NEC) schedule against Bryant University on Friday, Sept. 21, at Park Avenue Field.
The team went into the matchup under the direction of first-year head coach, Matt Micros, who had spent the last seven years as the head coach of the women’s soccer team at Post University.
“Sacred Heart University has landed a truly talented coach and incredible human being in Matt Micros,” said Sean Driscoll, who is the head coach of the women’s soccer team at Princeton University.
When the coaching change occured, senior goalkeeper Nicole Sambuco noted that the team was unsure how everything would turn out.
“After getting into pre-season, and now the regular season, I think we know what to expect from Matt,” said Sambuco.
Micros has shaken up the game plan through roster and game plan changes.
“He has definitely moved people around, played us at different positions, and we’re in a new formation,” said senior forward Lindsay Corallo. “I think he is playing to our strengths and trying to find the best spots for us.”
The coaching change has affected what happens off the field with the team as well. Micros has brought a different all-around approach to the team.
“The vibes are a lot better,” said senior defender Nicole Zurawski. “It is a lot less stressful with our new coach, and he’s super easy to get along with, and is also very easy to talk to.”
Non-conference games have not gone in favor for Sacred Heart, but they are looking to turn it around as conference play progresses.
“Obviously we’ve had a rough start to the season, but we’re looking to make the season end well,” said Zurawski. “We have a lot of seniors who all work hard for each other and have done so for the past four years.”
Conference play also brings opportunities to play rival universities and it also gives the team a chance to qualify for the NEC playoffs.
The NEC only offers four playoff positions. In previous years, Sacred Heart and Bryant have battled against one another to secure the fourth seed.
“We’re always (seeded) fourth, and they’re always fifth, or vice versa,” said Zurawski. “Usually either we knock them out of the playoffs or they knock us out.”
Another game that could determine whether or not the team could make the playoffs is against Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) on Oct. 5, at CCSU’s soccer field.
“Central is a big competitor, and it’s just fueling that Connecticut rivalry,” said Corallo.
Sambuco believes that if the team works hard for one another, then the team can achieve the goal of reaching the playoffs.
The team’s next game will be against Saint Francis University (SFU), on Friday, Sept. 28, at Park Avenue Field.