The women’s soccer team opened its season this past weekend against Quinnipiac, winning with a score of 2–0. The squad will next take the field this weekend when it hosts the Yale Classic. The News sat down with midfielder Shannon Conneely ’16 to discuss the game, her team and the upcoming season. 

Q. What do you take away from your opening win and how important will that be in terms of setting the tempo for the rest of the season?

A. Getting the win on Friday was obviously very exciting and was a good way to set the tone for the rest of the season. We had a positive result, but the game also highlighted some things we need to work on that weren’t as evident when we just play against each other in practice. There’s definitely room for improvement, but we needed that win for our confidence.

Q. What are your hopes for the offense this season with so many weapons like Melissa Gavin ’15 and Paula Hagobian ’16 at the team’s disposal, in addition to Meredith Speck ’15 playing a more offensive role? 

A. Being able to put Meredith in a more offensive role this year will be a huge asset for the team. She, Melissa and Paula have worked really well together in the past because they each bring something different and special to the game, and now that we can afford to have the three of them up front together full time, we will pose a much more offensive threat than in the past.

Q.How would you rate the new players on the team and their performance so far? 

A.The idea of ten new players was honestly pretty intimidating at first, and we weren’t sure how they were going to affect the team chemistry, but their contributions have been nothing but positive so far. They bring a whole new level of competitiveness to practice, and their work ethics are incredible. Each of the new players who played Friday had a significant impact on the game, with one of them, Carlin Hudson ’18, even scoring her first collegiate goal. I am excited to see how they help the team grow.

Q. How would you describe the identity of this year’s team? What do you hope to accomplish this season? 

A. This year’s team has the same goals as the teams I have played for previously, which is to win the Ivy League championship and make the program better. What I think has changed the most is our mentality and attitude toward each game: we no longer just want to win, we expect to win, and that has shaped our practices and our on-field behavior. Anything besides a positive result is unacceptable, and that has really motivated us to get the best out of each session and make each other better.

Q. What game(s) are you looking forward to the most this season? Are you excited for the Yale Classic or more amped for the Ivy League season? 

A. Each time you get to play for Yale is exciting and we all look forward to putting on our jerseys, and though the Yale Classic will be fun and a challenge, nothing compares to that first Ivy game against Princeton. That game sets the tone for our run at the championship and it arguably makes or breaks our season. The level of excitement in the weeks leading up to that game is incredible, and I know we are all especially looking forward to it this year with how well we have been playing in preseason and in the first game.

Q.You have had a tough offseason after suffering a knee injury. How has your recovery been and what have you learned from the process?

A. The road to recovery after my surgery has been long and frustrating, but all of the effort I have put in to get better will definitely be worth it when I do get to play again, hopefully in the next week or so. I have spent the past nine months away from soccer, and I would say that I learned how much I love it. Watching from the sidelines will never be the same as actually being in the game, and I really missed that in the spring. I didn’t realize how big of a part of my life it was until I couldn’t play anymore, and I am so happy I am going to have the opportunity to play again. It also made me appreciate my teammates more and I want to make the best of my time on the field with them. They’re a special group and it’s an honor to play my favorite game with them.