As the academic year kicks off, the men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball teams have been hard at work preparing for their upcoming seasons. Each team has played its first games of the season, or will in the coming days. In this edition of Around the Herd, The Student takes a look at each team’s chances to repeat last year’s strong performances.
Returning to play off the back of their 2022 NESCAC Championship performance, Men’s soccer is looking to repeat that success. Last season, the Mammoths finished with a 14-1-6 record, winning their sixth conference title and notching their 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16. While their NCAA run ended in heartbreak, falling to the University of Mary Washington at home in penalty kicks, this season, the Mammoths have their sights set on bringing home a national championship.
The team returns many key contributors from their successful 2022 season, including team captain and 2022 First Team All-American Ada Okorogheye ’24E, who also earned First Team All-Region I and All-NESCAC honors. Leading goalscorer Fynn Hayton-Ruffner ’25 (9 goals, 9 assists) also returns after a stellar season in which he was also selected to the All-Region I Third Team and All-NESCAC Second Team. Double-digit point-scorers Declan Sung ’24E (5 goal, 4 assists, 14 points) and Niall Murphy ’25 (4 goals, 2 assists, 10 points) also return to anchor the Mammoths’ attack.
Defensively, 2022 All-Region Second Team and All-NESCAC First Team selection and team captain Ben Clarke-Eden ’25 leads the way, solidifying a Mammoth defensive unit that returns many of its key contributors — defensive midfielder Lau ten Cate ’25, and backs Jonny Novak ’24, Simon Kalinauskas ’25, and Ryan Gomez ’25 return to lead the group. However, with 2022 starting goalkeeper and current professional player Bernie White ’23E graduating, the Mammoths come into this season with questions in net. Max Landa ’24 leads a group that will hope to continue the team’s legacy of strong goalkeeping into the new year.
Of this year’s group and their goals for the season, Okorogheye said, “The group’s a very fun one, the culture here is amazing, so I think, [we’re] just trying to continue what the others before [us] have done, and making sure.. that this season is as successful as it can be.” Clarke-Eden elaborated, saying that the team is “tak[ing] every game as it comes. We know the ability in the squad, and we know how important it is to not get ahead of ourselves.”
Head Coach Justin Serpone echoed his captains’ sentiments on the team’s goals, highlighting the ability up and down the NESCAC, and saying that making the NESCAC Tournament is the first step, and that, “from there… if we can get a home game, that would be great. Everything after that is gravy [sic].”
They seem to be on the right path, opening their season with a 5-1 win over Yeshiva University on Tuesday, Sept. 5. The Mammoths return to action looking to stay perfect on Saturday, Sept. 9 on the road against Middlebury. Kickoff against the Panthers is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Coming off of a 18-3 season in which the team won the NESCAC’s regular season title for the second straight year, were crowned NESCAC Champions for the second time in three seasons, and made the NCAA Sweet 16, the Women’s soccer team looks as strong as ever heading into the new year. With two weeks of 6:30 a.m. practices behind them, the team has their sights set high on NESCAC Championship-repeat and a return to the NCAA tournament.
While the team said goodbye to eight players and welcomes six new first-years, much of that championship-winning roster is still intact, poised for another deep postseason run. They certainly have the fire-power to do so. Returning offensive weapons at Head Coach Jen Hughes’ disposal include Abby Schwartz ’25E, who notched 12 goals and 8 assists in 2022 to lead the NESCAC in both categories, and 2022 NESCAC player of the year Patience Kum ’25 (9 goals, 4 assists). Kum also garnered All-American Second Team and All-Region I First Team, and All-NESCAC First Team honors from United Soccer Coaches, while Schwartz earned an All-Region I First Team nod. Forwards Liza Katz ’25E (7 goals, 4 assists) and Ally Deegan ’24 (5 goals, 2 assists) round out the returning attacking group, having recorded top-five point seasons for the Mammoths last season and garnering Academic All-District recognition.
Defensive midfielder Sierra Rosado ’25 anchored the Mammoths’ midfield on her way to Second Team All-Region I and All-NESCAC honors, and leads a formidable group into 2023. Alyssa Huynh ’25 and Brooke Ingemi ’26 also return after strong seasons in the middle of the pitch.
Defensively, the team is protected by stalwart goalkeeper Mika Fisher ’25E, who recorded another stellar season between the posts in 2022. Starting every game for the Mammoths last season, Fisher posted a .841 save percentage and a 0.657 goals against average, while tallying a NESCAC-leading nine shutouts. In front of her, the team returns all of its defensive pieces. Junior Charlotte Huang ’25 leads the back line after a season in which she earned United Soccer Coaches All-Region I First Team and All-NESCAC First Team selections. Fiona Bernet ’25, Carter Hollingsworth ’25, Ella Johnson ’26, and Sophia Haynes ’26 also return to a group that gave up only 13 goals last season.
The team has lofty goals, but Fisher, one of the Mammoths’ three captains this season, explained why they have the ability to accomplish all that and more. “Last season laid a great framework for us, and I think that we have nothing more but to build from that… and add to what we currently have in terms of talent, [and] in terms of leadership… you’ll see a lot of grit out on the field, [and] and incredibly high level in terms of intensity and of play [day in and day out].”
The Mammoths officially return this Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m., taking on Lesley University on the road in Cambridge to open their season. They will then travel to Middlebury on Saturday, Sept. 9, to open the NESCAC campaign before playing their first home game of the season the following day at 2 p.m. against Smith.
After a 2022 season in which they narrowly missed out on an NCAA tournament berth and finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the nation, field hockey is looking to build on that success and improve on their already impressive record.
While the team lost five key contributors to graduation after finishing 12-4 with a NESCAC Quarterfinal appearance, the team has reloaded with a seven-woman first-year class that is hungry to contribute on the field., They will join a core group of returning players who now have even more experience they can count on in big games. On the attacking side of the ball, the team returns 2022 All-American forward and leading goalscorer Muffie Mazambani ’24 (13 goals), as well as their other three top point-scorers: Abbey Kays ’25 (6 goals, 6 assists), Kat Mason ’25 (7 goals, 4 assists), and Sam Maynard ’25 (8 goals, 1 assist).
Defensively, the Mammoths have returning pieces as well, with starting netminder Sara Nidus ’25E protecting the goal line after a year in which she gave up less than a goal per game (0.97), made 32 saves, and gave up only 15 goals all season. In front of her, defender Kate Smith ’25 will be counted on to lead a relatively inexperienced unit against a set of tough opponents.
When asked about their style of play and what fans can expect from the Mammoths this season, Mazambani said, “You’ll see a very competitive team. Like, we go out there, we have a good time… But at the same time, we’re very aggressive — we’ll attack and attack as much as we have to, and defend as much as we can… We’ll put our everything out onto the field.”
They certainly showed that grit on Hill Field on Tuesday, Sept. 5, opening their season on a high note with a 6-1 win over Smith. Mazambani, Maynard, Paige DiBaise ’25, and Anna Aiello ’26 scored for the mammoths in the victory. The Mammoths return to action looking to stay perfect on Saturday, Sept. 9 on the road against Middlebury before traveling to Keene State College on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Their next game against the defending National Champions is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
On the back of a successful 2022 season in which it qualified for the NESCAC tournament and made a run to the semifinals, volleyball aims to post another impressive run in 2023. The team brings back its season leaders in assists (Carly Cooper ’24), digs (Lizzie Papalia ’25), and blocks (Kinsey Cronin ’25). Around an experienced core, the team should be poised to recreate the success of a season ago.
The Mammoths will officially return to LeFrak Gymnasium on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m., taking on Smith University to open their season. They will then travel to New York City for the Violet Volleyball Weekend on Friday, Sept. 8, taking on Babson College at 7 p.m. before a Saturday double-header against Stockton University (12:30 p.m.) and host New York University (5:30 p.m.).