The Sacred Heart University women’s soccer team entered this season ranked third in the North East Conference (NEC) preseason poll. SHU is 3-3-1 so far this season. The Pioneers beat the Wagner College Seahawks 2-0 on Sunday, Sept. 19, marking their first conference win.
The women’s soccer team has had several impressive performers so far. Their most dangerous goal scorer to this point has been freshman Grace O’ Hara. O’Hara leads the team in goals, shots on goal, and is second in shots attempted as well. Another top performer for the women’s soccer team has been junior Azria Malloy.
Junior forward Michelle Clarkin is a two-time All-American. Despite this, Clarkin does not feel any added pressure on herself and credits this to the positive energy given off by her teammates.
“We have a really great support system with our coaches and teammates. Everybody’s there to just root each other on and be positive energy,” said Clarkin.
Junior forward Azria Malloy leads the team in shot attempts. Clarkin has also been a leading performer this season.
“I think the chemistry on the team is great. I think it starts from what we do in practice, just because we’re together all the time and we work hard together,” said Malloy.
Freshman forward Grace O’Hara leads the team in goals, shots on goal, and is second in shots attempted, but soccer is not just about each individual’s talent or scores.
“I think everyone has it honestly, I don’t think it’s one specific person,” said O’Hara.
Head Coach Matt Micros noted that the team did not always have an opportunity to step up last season due to challenges with Covid-19, such as missing players because of quarantines as well as not having fans in the stands.
“Last year we were always missing people, whether it was injuries or quarantines. It was a very tough season. I think the kids were very excited to finally have a full season again for the first time since 2019,” said Micros.
The return of fans has also had a positive impact on the team. “It feels great. Everyone loves seeing people come to the game,” said Clarkin. Despite their ups and downs so far this season, Micros feels confident about where the
team currently is. “We’ve played a tough out-of-conference schedule, which we’re hoping will prepare
us for conference play,” said Micros. “We know we are going to have to work extremely hard and play well to make the playoffs.”
The women’s soccer team faces off against Mount Saint Mary’s University on Sunday, Sept. 26 in Emmitsburg, Md.
Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.