WASHINGTON - A new era for Gallaudet University women's soccer is about to begin as the Bison prepare for the 2017 season. GU welcomes 10 new faces to the program, eight freshmen, who bring new energy and excitement to the program. A big focus this past off-season was recruiting more offense. The new additions plus the returning compliment of players has the Bison poised for a bounce back season.
"We are positive and excited for the new year. We have a perfect balance of new players and experienced players returning this year. Everyone is very supportive and very excited about the season," said Liza Offreda, who enters her fourth season at the helm.
Here is a breakdown of the 2017 Gallaudet women's soccer team.
NEAC Record: 1-12
Brittany Mallach (Milton, Ontario), Jr., Forward
Mallach led the Gallaudet offense last season with 10 goals and 20 points. Mallach will be paired up with freshman Danielle Wheeler at the forward position. Coach Offreda expects to see Mallach's assist totals go up with more options on offense this season.
Sabina Shysh (Tucson, Ariz.), Jr., Midfield/Defense
Shysh's season ended before it even started last year. An injury kept her sidelined for the entire year but she is fully recovered and back for the Bison. She brings instant leadership and experience to the team. Shysh will help to control the midfield.
Silvya Levesque (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), So., Goalie
Levesque stopped 140 shots last season in her Bison debut. She had two shutout victories for the buff and blue. Goalie coach Meghan Maiwald believes Levesque is more prepared going into her second season. The game has slowed down for her and she is more confident in net for the Bison. Plus, the addition of a second goalie on the roster has helped to push Levesque in practice.
Katie Benz, Midfield/Forward
Benz was Gallaudet's second leading scorer with two goals and two assists (six points). She was second on the team with 20 shots (14 shots on goal). She was an experienced veteran in the middle of the field.
Nicole Smith, Defense
Smith had helped to anchor the Bison defense for many years. She started 15 games last year and was a leader in the back line. The new defenders have big shoes to fill.
Sabrina Hernandez (Ashland, Va.), Fr., Midfield
Hernandez is one of two members of the USA Deaf Women's National Soccer Team joining the Bison this season. She and Wheeler bring years of playing on a national team and international experience to the table. She should be an instant spark plug on offense for the Bison.
Danielle Wheeler (San Jose, Calif.), Fr., Forward
She will be paired up with Mallach on the front line for the Bison. She has gained valuable experience playing for the USA Deaf Women's National Soccer Team. Wheeler and Mallach have already worked well, together, during preseason camp. There is good chemistry there which should help turn into goals for the Bison.
Hailey Montoya (Mentone, Calif.), Fr., Midfield
The freshman from California will start at midfield for the Bison this year. She brings a scoring prowess to the team and should contribute right away.
Isabelle Troup (Snellville, Ga.), Fr., Defense/Midfield
Troup will see time at defense and midfield for the Bison this season and will be another new face that will help to solidify the middle of the field for Gallaudet.
Sharon Castillo (Dallas, Texas), Fr., Forward/Midfield
The Texas native is another weapon the Bison hope to use at forward and midfield this season.
"I am excited about the energy. I can the see the bonds being made. The players really have a true passion and love of the game. Really, that is what means the most to me, The Love of the Game. That is means more than the wins and losses. I love that they care so much about the game of soccer." Liza Offreda, Gallaudet University women's soccer head coach
- Season Opener: at Trinity Washington (Fri., Sept. 1)
- Home Opener: vs. Hood (Sun., Sept. 3)
- Conference Opener: vs. Bryn Athyn (Sat., Sept. 23)
- 2016 Conference Champs: vs. Penn St.-Berks (Sat., Sept. 30)
- Homecoming: vs. Keuka (Sat., Oct. 21)
- Senior Night: vs. Washington Adventist (Wed., Oct. 25)
Gallaudet will play 16 games this season with more than half of those contests played at home. The Bison open the season Friday, Sept. 1, with a non-conference match at Trinity Washington University. GU then begins a three-game homestand before an away game at Hollins. The Bison return home to begin North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play as they host Bryn Athyn College on Sept. 23. After an away game at Wilson (Sept. 27) the Bison host the defending NEAC champions Penn St.-Berks to close out the first month. Gallaudet begins October on the road in New York for two conference games and then a road trip to Penn St.-Abington (Oct. 14) before returning home for a game against Lancaster Bible (Oct. 17). The Bison will host Keuka (Oct. 21) and Wells (Oct. 22) during Homecoming weekend. Gallaudet's seniors will be recognized on Oct. 25 under the lights against Washington Adventist University in a non-conference game. The Bison finish the regular-season schedule at St. Elizabeth before the conference tournament begins in November.
BISON HOME GAMES
Sept. 3 vs. Hood, 1 p.m.
Sept. 6 vs. Notre Dame (Md.), 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Valley Forge, 2 p.m. (Hoy Field)
Sept. 23 vs. Bryn Athyn, 6 p.m.
Sept. 30 vs. Penn St.-Berks, 2 p.m.
Oct. 17 vs. Lancaster Bible, 6 p.m.
Oct. 21 vs. Keuka, 2 p.m. (Hoy Field)
Oct. 22 vs. Wells, 2:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 vs. Washington Adventist, 7 p.m. (Senior Day)