The Hartford women's soccer team has put out its 2013 schedule, which features eight home games on the West Hartford campus. John Natale has built the program into an annual America East contender and enters 2013 looking to push forward and rebuild at the same time, a subject that was looked at in this recent piece in The Courant.
Dan Ruede of UHart put together the following press release, which contains all kinds of good information ...
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – University of Hartford women’s soccer coach John Natale has announced the team’s 2013 fall schedule, revealing an array that features eight home games at Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium. The slate begins with 10 non-conference contests, preparing the Hawks for an eight-game America East schedule. Among the non-league opponents, the Hawks will play four Nutmeg State rivals and participate in a tournament hosted by the Fairfield Stags.
The Hawks will initiate their 2013 campaign with a home game on Friday August 23, welcoming the Bryant Bulldogs to West Hartford. The Northeast Conference foe finished 2012 with a Division I program record 11 wins, finishing 11-8 overall and 6-4 in conference play. The meeting against Bryant will be just the third all-time with each winning one of the previous two meetings. The season opener is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kick off.
Following the season and home opener, Hartford will play a pair of road contests at Saint Joseph’s and Iona. The first road contest will come on Sunday, August 25 when the Hawks travel to Philadelphia for a battle of the Hawks. Last season, Hartford posted a convincing 5-2 victory over Saint Joseph’s, which finished its 2012 campaign with a 9-7-4 overall record. The Hawks will then look to remain undefeated against the Gaels when they meet on Thursday, August 29. In the last three meetings, Hartford has outscored the Gaels 8-2 with all three of those meetings coming under the direction of Natale.
The Hawks return to the Nutmeg State to welcome their first in-state rival when the Fairfield Stags enter West Hartford on Thursday, September 5. In 2012, the Hawks and Stags finished in a 0-0 stalemate, the first of four-straight shutouts for Hartford. In the eight previous meetings with Fairfield, the Hawks hold a 2-3-3 overall record.
Following that brief stop at Alumni Stadium the Hawks will play four straight away from their home field, beginning with a second Northeast Conference opponent in Fairleigh Dickinson. Last season, the Hawks and Knights opened each other’s schedule with a 1-1 stalemate, while the Hawks have never lost to the NEC foe in five previous meetings (4-0-1).
Hartford will then travel within the borders of the state to Fairfield for two games as part of a tournament hosted by Fairfield. The Hawks will face Holy Cross and American in the weekend-long event at Lessing Field. The first game of the tournament will come against the Patriot League’s Crusaders on Friday, September 13. Last season, Hartford posted a 4-0 victory over Holy Cross. On Sunday, September 15, the Hawks will face American for just the second time in school history. The first meeting of the two squads came in 1994 at the Hartford Courant Women’s Soccer Cup at Al-Marzook Field, with the Hawks winning, 9-1.
The final game in the road stand will also keep the Hawks within the state borders as they travel to New Haven and Reese Stadium for a match-up with the Ivy League’s Yale Bulldogs. In the recent history of a series that dates back to 1985, the Bulldogs have won five straight against Hartford, including a 2-1 decision last season at Alumni Stadium. Prior to those five losses, the Hawks won the first 16 meetings in the 21-game series.
Hartford will then return to West Hartford for back-to-back games against two more Nutmeg State rivals in Central Connecticut and Sacred Heart. The first of those will come on Sunday, September 22 against the Blue Devils, renewing a series that hasn’t been played since the 2010 season. In the 11 previous meetings, the Hawks hold a 4-6-1 record against the NEC opponent. Sacred Heart will then make their way north on Interstate 91 for a Thursday night match-up on September 25 for just the second meeting all-time between the two club. The first meeting came in 2005 and resulted in a Pioneers’ double-overtime, 2-1 victory.
Following the final non-conference test against the Pioneers, the Hawks will begin an eight-game America East Conference slate on the road against the Albany Great Danes. Last season, Albany finished fifth overall with a 3-4-1 mark in conference action and dropped a 3-2 penalty kick decision against Vermont in the America East Championship quarterfinals. In the lone meeting between the Hawks and Great Danes last season the Hawks posted a 2-0 shutout.
Hartford will then play three straight league contests at home including dates against Maine, New Hampshire and reigning America East champion Stony Brook. In the 2012 regular season, the Hawks finished a perfect 3-0 against those teams with shutouts against the Black Bears and Wildcats before posting a 2-1 double-overtime victory over the Seawolves scoring 121 seconds before the final horn. The Seawolves then defeated Hartford in the postseason, scoring a 1-0 shutout in the America East Championship game.
On Sunday, October 13 the Hawks travel to Lowell, Mass. for their first ever meeting against the newest member of the America East, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks. In their final season in the Northeast 10, the River Hawks posted an overall record of 6-9-2 and a 5-9-1 mark in league action.
After traveling to Binghamton on October 17, the Hawks will close out the home portion of the schedule against the Vermont Catamounts on Sunday, October 20. Last season, the Hawks and Catamounts met on two occasions with Vermont winning the regular season match-up in Burlington and Hartford defeating Vermont, 2-0, at home in the America East Championship semifinals.
The regular season finale will come in the form of a date with the UMBC Retrievers in Baltimore on Thursday, October 24. The top six teams following the regular season qualify for the 2012 America East Tournament, which begins with the quarterfinal round on Thursday, October 31. The top two teams in the league rankings receive a bye in the tournament’s first round, with the championship scheduled for November 9 or 10 at the home field of the highest remaining seed.
Last season, the Hawks posted an 11-5-3 overall record and advanced to the America East Championship game before falling to the Stony Brook Seawolves. Overall, the Hawks shutout nine opponents and gave up just 14 goals in 19 total games, an average of 0.71 goals-per-game.
Leading the Hawks was All-American Amelia Pereira, who finished with a career-high 13 goals and 33 points (seven assists). Pereira was also named the America East Scholar Athlete for women’s soccer, combining her success on the field with a 3.79 cumulative grade point average as a management major in the Barney School of Business. Pereira is part of a senior class of eight that the Hawks look to replace in 2013. Among those losses was keeper Erin Quinlan, who in two seasons gave up just 21 goals in 37 games and shutout 21 opponents.
The Hawks leading returner in 2013 is freshman forward Elise Galipo, who finished with four goals and three assists for 11 points. Senior returners Arielle Aikens and Raelynn Mikell will look to lead the Hawks as captains in 2013 as the squad welcomes 13 new faces to the sidelines.Copyright © 2015, CT Now