The University of Rhode Island Women's Soccer team took to the pitch at the URI Soccer Complex tonight in their first exhibition game versus UMass-Lowell. The final result may have been a 0-0 draw, but the outlook on the field in front of Head Coach Megan Jessee's fifth season at the helm was a win. The Rams throughout the first and second half of the match dominated the control and run of play through the midfield, aptly managed by Senior Tory Bike and Junior Laila Rosenthal, giving opportunity for the power front of Tess O'Connell and Captain Rebecca D'Anna. The season last year was not at all what the Rams expected. While the "championship" season in the fall was cancelled due to Covid-19, the normal scrimmage season in the spring was replaced with what was expected to be a 14 game regular season. However, that was even met with its own challenges as the mental weight of playing in a difficult situation coupled with quarantining and a Covid outbreak within the Rams locker room, created a very unexpected and not to be judged 2-8-2 record. Coach Jessee said she used the spring season more like an elongated training camp to continue installing an adapted system of play, work on communication and new partnerships in the midfield and work on the mental aspects of freshman and sophomore players games so as to set them for the 2021 Fall Season. The Rams will need every tool in the box and more to push through a challenging season that will throw fire at them from the opening kick. They will start the season at home versus in-state rival Providence and will tangle with a 3-game series in the first week of September that will face them off against Brown, Boston University and Holy Cross in consecutive matches. Captain Rebecca D'Anna says that while "the team's goal for the season is to win the A10's", she also wants to see them "score a lot of goals and come away with strong victories". The scoring up front will come many a times this season off the foot of the sophomore starting attacker Sam Hagerty, one of two Rhode Island natives on the roster along with Freshman GK Faith Hutchins (South Kingstown H.S.). Hagerty, graduated from the perfectly named La Salle Academy Rams and now goes into her first full season for the Rhode Island Rams looking to "open the eyes of the soccer world to players from Rhode Island who are competing at top Division I colleges" She hopes that play from herself and Hutchins may inspire younger female players in the state and also open opportunities for them as they progress in the future. With the USL W-League launching in the next year, the post college opportunities in women's soccer at least stateside are growing, much to the delight of players like Hagerty. The Rams will have a smattering of non-conference games before they begin the A10 season on September 23rd, home to George Washington. They will conclude the A10 and regular season on October 24th at home against 3-time A10 Champions Saint Louis, which Coach Jessee hopes will be a match to decide the regular season championship between the Billikens and her Rams side. Stay tuned to fansonlysportz.com for coverage of Rhode Island Rams Women's Soccer all season long.
C/O: Mike Scott / URI Sports Media