The women’s soccer team ended its season with a 2-0 loss against Dowling College on Sunday, November 11, in the NCAA East Regional Playoffs. But the team can look back at a stellar season, finishing with a 15-3-2 overall record and receiving a sportsmanship award from officials in the New York area.
The women’s soccer team was honored with a prestigious award from The New York Metro chapter of National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials. Every school year the officials vote upon sportsmanship qualities of teams and coaches they have observed and officiated throughout the season.
Junior captain Karina Rizzo was honored to be given the award. “It’s a great acknowledgement for us when the referees and officials that we have had during the season rate us as the fairest team this year. It represents a lot of our values,” said Rizzo.
The 2011 season was a huge disappointment for the LIU Post women’s soccer team. Key players like four-time All-Conference selection Ivana Babic had graduated and the team was left with a young, inexperienced squad. The team finished the season with a 9-5-2 record and lost to Dowling College in the ECC semi-finals.
However, this year the Pioneers bounced back. The major difference was the strength in offense. In 2012, the team scored 49 goals, up 14 goals from last season. Nineteen of the goals were scored by freshman Susanne Vistnes while last year’s top scorer, junior Alexa Niciforo, finished the season with nine goals.
In addition, the defensive line, led by Rizzo and ECC goalkeeper of the year, senior Nicole Fierro, had a great year. The team allowed only 19 goals from opponents on 236 attempted shots.
There were many strong performances worth mentioning, but a couple stand out from the 2012 season. The 2-1 win in double overtime against Dowling College on September 19 was one of the most impressive ones. Niciforo scored the game winner off a rebound after a Vistnes shot to give the Pioneers the win. Another was the 6-0 win at home against St. Thomas Aquinas College on September 29. Norwegian sophomore Solveig Bjordal scored her only goal of the year, while Vistnes netted her first collegiate hat trick in the game. The Niciforo sisters, freshman Jackie and junior Alexa, also added one goal apiece in the Pioneers’ win.
For sophomore midfielder Heidi Eikeland the win against Dowling was special, but the highlight of the season was something else: “The win against Dowling was amazing. To score in double overtime was the best feeling in the world. Still, I have to say that the moment I remember best from the 2012 season was Susanne’s (Vistnes) goal against Molloy. It was the best goal I have ever seen,” said Eikeland, referring to Vistnes’ first goal against the Lions, a laser from 25 yards in the top right corner.