The College of Staten Island women’s soccer squad kicks off its season today against Keystone College in what is the first series meeting between the two sides in their history.  The Dolphins are defending back-to-back CUNYAC Championships, while the Giants are trying to build on a 7-8-1 campaign from a year ago.


Matchup:  CSI (0-0) vs. Keystone College (0-0)
Where: Keystone College – La Plume, PA
All-Time Series:  First Meeting
Players to Watch (CSI):  The Dolphins lost their top two scorers from a year ago, so Stephanie LaPointe becomes the team’s leading returning scorer, having put in four goals and six assists a year ago as a freshman.  Natalia Sandor scored CSI’s final goal of the 2016 season, an insurance tally in the CUNYAC Championship.  She is another sophomore who scored four goals last year.  Midfielder Lauren Smith can often be seen quarterbacking the team and she is coming off of a four assist season after winning CUNYAC Rookie of the Year back in 2015.  Lizabeth Aparicio is one of only two Dolphins to start every game last season, look for her to be an anchor in the defensive midfield, while shutdown defender Catherine Mulligan will look to continue CSI’s penchant for being stingy on the defensive end.
Players to Watch (KC): Four seniors anchor the Giants, with two on the defensive side of the ball with Rebecca Lewis and Shauna Menzella.  When it comes to the attack, Hannah Richner had a sensational freshman year in 2016 and will bring her six-goal season into the new year as Keystone’s leading returning scorer.  She shared the goal-scoring lead season with Jenna Moranski, a senior on the front side of the attack.  Keystone also returns two starting keepers from a year ago, with Sarah Heintz leading the way with 14 starts, having made 79 saves a year ago.
News and Notes:  This is the first meeting between the two schools in their history, and the teams shared no common opponents a year ago.  Keystone’s last winning season came in 2013, when they finished 10-5-1.  In the last two years they have finished one game under .500, and they are hoping to turn that corner this year.  Meanwhile, the Dolphins have won 25 games over the last two seasons, won a pair of CUNYAC Championships and made their first trips ever to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.  The young Dolphins bring in a lot of new faces, trying to compensate for the losses of senior leading goal scorer Jennifer Cosenza and transferred CUNYAC Rookie of the Year Krystina Rodriguez.  The Dolphins outscored opponents last year, 55-17, and posted a program record 13 shutouts.  Freshman Nicole Mignone did a lion’s share of the goal-keeping last year, and is expected play the field this season at forward.  For Keystone, this is only the second time they have opened the season at home since 2011.  In their last home season opener, they fell to Desales University, 7-0, in 2015.  The exact opposite exists for CSI.  This is only their second road season opener since 2011.  Last year they tied Norwich University, 0-0, in Northfield, VT.