NORTH ADAMS -- The MCLA women’s soccer team is more than happy to be voted as the sixth-best team in the MASCAC preseason poll. It’s providing early-season motivation.
"I’m happy with where we were in the conference polls," coach Deb Raber said. "It’s good, let them put us there. I think they’re going to be surprised with what they’re going to see when they play us."
The Trailblazers didn’t have the success they had hoped for in 2011, finishing an injury-riddled season with a 6-10-1 record.
Lindsay Borbolla, Ashlee Scofield and Rebecca Pike will all return this season after missing the majority of last season with injuries. All three will play key roles down the middle of the field.
"For me, I think it’s about getting the team back together and having all the injured players back on the field," Borbolla said. "Being put in the sixth position is kind of like motivation. It’s a chance to prove people wrong and show that we really are as good as we know we are."
Raber hopes that having the amount of injuries the team had last season will be beneficial this year. A strong group of freshman, now sophomores, were thrown into playing time last season to fill the voids.
"Last year, we had a lot of different players on the field because of the injures," senior defensive back Kasie Harrington said. "Right now we’re just taking it day by day. I think we’re
Harrignton returns for her senior season after being voted to the All-MASCAC second team as a junior.
When having to plan around a large number of injuries, it forces players to become versatile and have to learn to play multiple positions.
"It’s good to see we have so many people in so many different positions and that we can all move around and can play in so many different spots," Borbolla said. "It just means that we have so much to look forward too."
Including the injured players, the Trailblazers return 19 players from last year’s roster. They also have two transfers joining the team this year.
"We have quite a few women on our roster that are very versatile," Raber said. "You’ll see them in different spots and they’re so interchangeable. Right now it’s trying to figure out what the right fit is and who our starting lineup is going to be."
The team will kick the season off today against UMass-Boston.
"I think the biggest thing is having the opportunity to play against someone else," Raber said. "We scrimmaged this past weekend and I liked what I saw, but now it’s just back to practicing with each other. It’s important to getting back to playing someone else and seeing where the improvement comes in and where we need to improve."