WASHINGTON - It was the best season in program history last year as the Gallaudet University women's soccer program took a momentous step under the direction of head coach Dr. Liza Offreda.
Gallaudet finished last season with a 8-7-1 record and 3-6-1 mark in conference play. Gallaudet gained six wins from their 2016 total to finish with a winning record and new school record marks for wins (eight) and goals (55).
The Bison were powered by an impressive 1-2 punch on offense as the duo combined for 39 goals. Senior Brittany Mallach (Milton, Ontario) is back and will be chasing history while leading the Gallaudet offense. GU returns 12 players from last year's team, including a third-year goalie starting in net, to go with eight new faces as the Bison field one of their deeper teams in recent history.
The Bison will be tested by their schedule this season in conference and out of it. Last year, GU lost four games by two goals or less and finished the 2017 campaign with a double overtime tie. If Gallaudet can change the outcomes of a handful of those games in 2018 then double digit wins could be in sight.
"We are very excited about our schedule this season. We have a great balance between our non-conference and conference games. We should be very competitive this season," said Offreda.
Here is a breakdown of the 2018 Gallaudet women's soccer team.
NEAC Record: 3-6-1
Highlights: Two All-NEAC honorees, set program record for wins (eight) and goals (55)
Brittany Mallach (Milton, Ontario), Sr., Forward
Mallach is poised for a memorable senior season in the buff and blue. The third team All-NEAC forward scored 19 goals and one assist (39 points) last season for the Bison. In three seasons she has scored 38 goals and 81 points. The Bison offense will run through Mallach this season as she continues to re-write the program record book.
Sabina Shysh (Tucson, Ariz.), Sr., Midfield
Shysh had a solid bounce back season as she scored four goals and four assists from the midfield for the Bison. She and Sabrina Hernandez will anchor the midfield unit and have continued to build a great bond on the field. Shysh is a leader on and off the field for Gallaudet.
Sabrina Hernandez (Ashland, Va.), So., Midfield
Hernandez's rookie debut was overshadowed by two other talented freshmen last year but she still finished fourth on the team with 16 points as she passed out a team best eight assists to go with four goals. She is more confident entering the 2018 campaign and should step up with more goals and assists this season.
Silvya Levesque (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), So., Goalie
Levesque enters her third year as the starting goalie for the Bison. She helped GU during its record-breaking season last year as she stopped 157 shots (78.9 save percentage) and posted eight wins (three shutouts) as she logged 1,478 minutes.
Danielle Wheeler, Forward
Wheeler was GU's leading goal-scorer last season with a program record 20 goals in a single season as she earned All-NEAC first team honors. She was part of GU's 1-2 punch on offense with Mallach. She leaves a big void but the Bison are encouraged by the skills shown by several new players during training camp.
Hannah Neild (Litchfield, N.H.), Fr., Midfield/Forward
Neild last season starred on the basketball court and softball diamond for the Bison. She earned dozens of accolades and was an all-conference first team selection in both sports. The scary part, soccer is Neild's best sport! Coach Offreda is excited to pair Neild upfront with Mallach. Neild makes great decisions, is accurate with her shots and a overall smart player.
Krista Kachnik (Henderson, Nev.), Fr., Defense
Kachnik will start on defense and hold down the middle back portion of the field. A very fast and aggressive defender, who has good touch with the ball and has meshed well with the returning defensive players.
"We are looking to building off the success we had last season with a goal of making the conference playoffs this season. We have a lot of potential and could go further than we did last year. I am really encouraged because this is the best team chemistry I have seen on a Bison women's soccer team since I have been a part of this program." Liza Offreda, Gallaudet University women's soccer head coach
- Season Opener: at Washington Adventist (Fri., Aug. 31)
- Home/Conference Opener: vs. St. Elizabeth (Sat., Sept. 8)
- Homecoming/Senior Night: vs. Trinity Washington (Sat., Oct. 27)
Gallaudet will be begin the season on the road with a short trip over to Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., on Friday, Aug. 31, at 4 p.m.
The month of September finds the Bison on the road in Baltimore to go up against Notre Dame of Maryland University on Sept. 4 before the home and conference opener against College of Saint Elizabeth on Saturday, Sept. 8. This begins a five-game homestand for the buff and blue. GU will host Hollins University (Sept. 9), Wilson College (Sept. 12), Penn College (Sept. 15) and Penn St.-Abington (Sept. 19). The last two games are conference games as Wilson leaves the NEAC to compete in the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC). GU will then travel on Sept. 22 to Penn St.-Berks, the defending NEAC champion. Gallaudet returns home to close out the month at home against Wells College and Keuka College.
GU will begin October on the road in New York against SUNY Poly on Oct. 6. The following Saturday, GU plays host to SUNY Cobleskill (Oct. 13) on Hoy Field. The next four games are on the road against Marymount (Va.) University (Oct. 15), Morrisville State College (Oct. 20), Cazenovia College (Oct. 21) and Lancaster Bible College (Oct. 24). Gallaudet closes out its regular-season schedule with home game against Trinity Washington University (Oct. 27) on Homecoming weekend. This game will also be senior night for the team's seniors.
The NEAC tournament will begin with quarterfinals on Oct. 30, followed by semifinals on Nov. 3 and the NEAC championship match on Nov. 4.
BISON HOME GAMES
Sept. 8 vs. St. Elizabeth, noon
Sept. 9 vs. Hollins, 1 p.m.
Sept. 12 vs. Wilson, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 vs. Penn College, 2 p.m.
Sept. 19 vs. Penn St.-Abington, 5 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Wells, noon
Sept. 30 vs. Keuka, noon
Oct. 13 vs. SUNY Cobleskill, noon
Oct. 27 vs. Trinity Washington, 5 p.m. (Senior Day)