WASHINGTON - After the completion of last season, Gallaudet University women's soccer learned the importance of growing and improving as a team. The Bison enter the 2016 season with new faces and optimism. With the new faces come new challenges. During the preseason, Gallaudet women's soccer head coach Liza Offreda and the Bison worked to develop team chemistry in order to speed up the growth of the team.
"I want the team to be able to learn from each other and grow together. That's not possible without team chemistry," said Offreda, who enters her third season at the helm.
Here is a breakdown of the 2016 Gallaudet women's soccer team.
NEAC Record: 1-11
Brittany Mallach (Milton, Ontario), So., Forward
Mallach led the Gallaudet offense last season with nine goals, four assists and 22 points. She recorded 39 shots, 31 of which were on goal, and had three game-winning goals for the Bison. With a year of college soccer under her belt she will anchor the Bison attack in 2016.
Katie Benz (Ottawa, Ontario), Sr., Midfield/Forward
Benz returns to lead the Bison at midfield for her senior season as team captain. Her creativity with the ball and ability to play at both ends of the ball make her an extremely dynamic player. She started 16 games last season and tallied one goal, two assists and four points.
Nicole Smith (St. Louis, Mo.), Sr., Defense
Smith returns to the pitch leading the defense. Her leadership, experience, and confidence in the back make her a player who the team can always count on to hold the back line.
Sabina Shysh (Tucson, Ariz.), Jr., Midfield/Defense
Shysh continued to grow as a sophomore last season and is a co-captain this season. She was third on the team with three goals, three assists and nine points last year. Her three goals came on seven shots on goal. She has proven that she is capable of further improvement and her ability is expected to continue to excel in the midfield during her junior year.
Jennifer Livengood, Goalie
Livengood was Gallaudet's two-year starter in net. Last season, she made 169 saves in 19 games started. She logged 1,711 minutes in net and posted a 3.42 goals against average as she led the Bison to three wins and two shutouts.
Silvya Levesque (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), Fr., Goalie
Levesque is the first newcomer expected to make an immediate impact. With the departure of Livengood, she has some big shoes to fill as a freshman. Despite being young, she has shown confidence and leadership throughout the preseason.
Cyndie Rieder (Benicia, Calif.), Fr., Defense
Rieder is expected to make a big impact on defense for the Bison. Although she is young, her knowledge of the game, ability to control the ball and technical passing ability make her difficult for other teams to deal with.
Katie Bigelow (Flushing, Mich.), Sr., Defense
Bigelow, an aggressive player, is also expected play a big role on the team. Her aggressive style of play combined with a high soccer IQ will help the Bison on the back end of the field.
Teresa Tiainen (Helsinki, Finland), So., Midfield
The freshmen from Finland has technical ability and will look to put those skills on display at center midfield.
"We learned last year that wins, losses and statistics are not the most important thing for the team. What's important is that we are able learn from each other, grow as a team, and improve as a team." Liza Offreda, Gallaudet University women's soccer head coach
- Season Opener: vs. Notre Dame (Md.) (Fri., Sept. 2) 4:30 p.m.
- Home Opener/Conference Opener: Wilson (Sat., Sept. 10) Noon
- Key Conference Game: vs. Morrisville St. (Sat., Oct. 15) 1:00 p.m.
- Homecoming/Senior Night: vs. Trinity (D.C.) (Fri., Oct. 28) 7:00 p.m.
Gallaudet will play 18 games this season with half of the contests at home. The Bison open the season Friday, Sept. 2, with a tough non-conference match at Notre Dame of Maryland University. The following weekend, the Bison seek redemption during the conference and home opener against Wilson College at Hoy Field. Gallaudet fell to Wilson in overtime, 3-2, last season. The only overtime loss for the Bison last year. The Wilson setback was one of five losses by only one goal. In October, Gallaudet will have a rematch with Morrisville St., a team that also beat the Bison by one goal in 2015, on Oct. 15 at Hoy Field. The Bison will finish the season at home during Homecoming weekend, when they take on Trinity (D.C.) on Senior Day. The NEAC tournament begins in November.
BISON HOME GAMES
Sept. 10 vs. Wilson, Noon (Hoy Field)
Sept. 11 vs. Mary Baldwin, 1 p.m.
Sept. 25 vs. Penn College, Noon
Sept. 28 vs. Marymount (Va.), 7 p.m.
Oct. 1 vs. Keuka, 1 p.m. (Hoy Field)
Oct. 2 vs. Wells, Noon
Oct. 15 vs. Morrisville St. 1 p.m. (Hoy Field)
Oct. 16 vs. Cazenovia, Noon
Oct. 28 vs. Trinity (D.C.), 7 p.m. (Senior Day)