PROVIDENCE, RI – Last season the Johnson & Wales University women's soccer team had their season cut short in the GNAC Semifinals but look to rise to the top in 2019. The Wildcats begin their march towards that elusive championship on Friday when they travel to Clarkson at 4:30 p.m.
Saint Joseph's College of Maine ended the Wildcats championship hopes last fall as they defeated JWU 4-2 in the GNAC Semifinals. The Monks went on to become GNAC Champions and were selected to repeat as champions in the 2019 preseason poll. St Joe's received six first-place votes for 159 points, while the Wildcats earned three first-place votes for 149 points.
The Wildcats scored more goals than any other team in the GNAC in 2018 with 63, six more than Lasell. Head coach Chris Flint brings back the top-two goal scorers for the Wildcats in junior Olivia Cairrao and sophomore Jordan Restivo. Cairrao was second in the conference with 15 goals scored and Restivo scored 11 goals on her way to becoming 2018 GNAC Rookie of the Year.
Olivia had five multi-goal games to lead the team and added to her career total of 10. Last season Cairrao was selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-New England Third Team. Heading into her third season Cairrao is already on the JWU all-time top 10 in a number of categories. She's fifth with 32 goals and ninth at 72 points.
Jordan Restivo's rookie year was an impressive one in a Wildcat uniform. Restivo ranked second on the team in goals with 11 and points with 28. Jordan netted an impressive four goals versus Anna Maria on the road to winning 2018 GNAC Rookie of the Year. The Wildcats have six of the last eight Rookie of the Year winners, including four straight honorees dating back to 2015.
The Wildcats also return key defensive players in Brianna DeLuna, Olivia PellEgrino and Cameron Eaton to help defend the backline in front of senior captain goalkeeper Colleen Lynch. Lynch is coming off a great junior season including a 1.25 GAA and 10 shutouts. Lynch was Rookie of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016 and hopes to return to form in 2019.
Coach Flint has put together a challenging non-conference schedule that should prep the Wildcats for GNAC play. The Wildcats travel to the Empire state on opening weekend to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence. JWU returns back to New England to take on Wheaton, who was tabbed to finish third in the NEWMAC, then hosting Brandeis in their home opener on September 7th. Wildcats open their GNAC schedule at home versus Simmons on September 18th.
A quote from Head Coach Chris Flint.
" I think we've had a decent preseason and should be pretty solid once everybody is healthy. Jordan Restivo looks ready for a solid sophomore season and we have experience & leadership in the goal in captain Colleen Lynch. The biggest challenge will be how quickly our 12 new players blend with the solid nucleus of returners especially on defense where we graduated a majority of minutes from our back 4. Several first year players will be asked to contribute right away and how they transition to the college game will determine our early season non-conference part of the schedule."