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For the last three years, Lauren Nowakowski rarely if never left the field for the Fordham University (Bronx, New York) women’s soccer team. While the 2007 Cheshire High School graduate finished playing last fall, her family continues to impact the program defensively.
Sister, Casey Nowakowski, has moved from forward to outside back for her sophomore season that officially starts tomorrow at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. The start time is 7 p.m.
“It’s a little different without her (Lauren),” said Casey Nowakowski, a former All-Housatonic Division selection at CHS (2010 graduate). “I think I’ll survive.”
Lauren Nowakowski was among six graduates for Head Coach Ness Salmani, but Fordham still returns seven starters from last season (8-10-1, 4-4-1 in Atlantic-10 Conference). Michaela Murphy, Katherine Wah, and Mariella Romano form a small senior class. Juniors Rachel Suther and Sarah Zieman posted a combined six shutouts in goal last fall. The Rams were recently voted to finish sixth by A-10 coaches. The reigning regular season and tournament champion, the University of Dayton (Ohio; 19-3, 8-1) was picked first out of 14 teams.
“We are on the same page. Everybody is getting along and I think that will definitely help us on the field this year,” explained Casey Nowakowski. “We have really quick players.”
Eight freshmen, along with junior transfer Rachel Madasci, have added excitement. Freshman mid-fielder/forward Maria Lorena Canicatti was named to the pre-season A-10 All-Rookie Team.
“They each have their own strengths,” said Casey Nowakowski. “We have people to go to in different situations.”
Casey Nowakowski started four years at CHS and was a senior captain just like her sister, the last three on defense. So, she is comfortable moving back in 2011.
“I started our scrimmage (with Iona College; New Rochelle, NY) at right back, so I hope to keep that position,” stated Casey Nowakowski, who made eight starts in 19 games last year. She fired seven shots (three on goal). “I do like defense because that is where I’ve been most of my life.”
Fordham tied visiting Iona 1-1 on Aug. 13. They have had time since to prepare for Seton Hall. The Pirates went 7-10-1 (3-7-1 in Big East Conference) last year, including a 1-0 road loss to Fordham on Aug. 22. Michelle Ancelj, a graduated captain with Katie McDermott, netted the game-winner.
“I don’t know much about the team. Our coach tells us that the other team doesn’t matter, it’s up to us to play our game,” Casey Nowakowski explained.
The home opener is Sept. 2 against Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). In the coined ‘Battle of the Bronx,’ the Rams visit Manhattan College (Riverdale, NY) on Sept. 9. Both games start at 7 p.m.
“It’s always a tough game with them and great competition,” said Casey Nowakowski, of Manhattan. “They are the school we always want to beat.”
Photo courtesy of Fordham.