THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University women’s soccer program (0-0-0, 0-0-0 Southland) once again inaugurates the beginning to another athletics year, opening the 2019-20 campaign on Friday, Aug. 23 against Mississippi Valley State (0-0-0, 0-0-0 SWAC) at the Nicholls Soccer Complex. Following a summer of adjustments, the Colonels retake the pitch aiming to make a splash in the Southland and work back into the conference tournament discussion, setting sail under first-year head coach Danny Free and an early four-game home stretch.
“After two preseason exhibitions, I feel that we know each other as a team and we have a good idea of who’s going to play where,” Free said. “Now we’re starting to get into the swing of things, and the body is starting to adapt to playing and training again. Opening the season with four home games has some real positives, the biggest of which is the girls know this place. Traveling hours on a bus affects preparation and your overall mentality, so just the fact that they can show up and feel comfortable in the environment means a ton. They’re used to the weather and the conditions, and on top of that, having any kind of fan presence this early in the season can really boost the girls on the field.”
Notable returners include senior goalkeeper Roosa Hurmerinta, who settled in between the posts for two-thirds of last season’s matches (12 games) and notched 64 saves with just 23 goals allowed. Meanwhile, fellow seniors Blaire Laicheand Kristy Helmers add an offensive flair, combining for four goals and 24 total shots all of last year, while senior Elisabet Gunnthorsdottir and junior Hannah Bodron act as the midfield guard. Wrapping up the backend are senior Jeanne Harson and sophomore Caroline Morton, veterans of a defense that shut out two opponents last season (Alcorn State & Stephen F. Austin).
“In terms of returning players, we’ve got a group of athletes who are ready to make an impact, especially within that senior class,” Free continued. “We’ve got both Blaire [Laiche] and Elisabet [Gunnthorsdottir] playing in more offensive roles, and we’re excited about what they can do with the ball higher up the field. In terms of new players coming in, Karina [Gonzalez] has stepped in and done a great job, and Alicia [Carlos] managed to score a hat trick in our second exhibition, so those are two big names to keep your eye on. Our midfield group is probably our strongest unit, primarily because we feel that we have a ton of depth there with a number of girls who can make a difference.”
- Danny Free enters his first season leading Nicholls, sporting a 0-0-0 overall record with the Red & Gray.
- The team boasts six seniors: GK Roosa Hurmerinta, D Jeanne Harson, F/MF Tessa Calabria, MF Elisabet Gunnthorsdottir, MF/D Blaire Laiche & F Kristy Helmers.
- This year’s roster is highlighted by nine newcomers, as junior F Cato Hom joined the program as a junior college transfer and freshmen MF Alicia Carlos, MF Lara Treuheit, D Caryn Bonadona, D Karina Gonzalez, F Sydney Wallace, MF Tabea Czech, F/MF Makena Terrell & F Maegan Terrell signed on directly from high school.
- This season’s depth chart features 11 players from across the state of Louisiana, five from Texas, a pair from Australia, another two from Germany and one from each of the following: Iceland, Finland & the Netherlands.
- The Colonels were projected to finish 12th in the Southland Conference, per the league’s preseason poll.
- Nicholls returns six of last season’s 11 starters, including seniors GK Roosa Hurmerinta, MF Elisabet Gunnthorsdottir, MF/D Blaire Laiche & D Jeanne Harson along with junior MF Hannah Bodron and sophomore D Caroline Morton.
Following Friday’s regular season opener against Mississippi Valley State, the Colonels battle another six non-conference opponents before shifting focus to Southland play on Sept. 20, traveling just beyond the Texas border for a key contest at Lamar. The team wraps up the 2019 campaign on Nov. 1 against Southeastern Louisiana, hosting the Lady Lions on Senior Day before potentially advancing to the Southland Conference Tournament in Conway, Ark.
Article courtesy of Nicholls State Sports Information Department.