This article originally appeared in the Empire State Tribune, the student newspaper of The King’s College.
Just two months ago, there wasn't going to be a women's soccer team at King's this year. After a series of incoming players decided not to come to King's, the season had a bleak outlook. The team had only six members, five shy of the 11 needed for a starting lineup.
Seniors Megan Leblanc and Hannah Hagadorn were not deterred. They helped recruit eight other King's girls to join the team, along with a new head coach.
Due to their efforts, the team was able to put a four game regular season schedule together. They started the season off 1-1, with a 2-0 win over New Rochelle and a 0-3 loss to SUNY-ESF.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, the team faced Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, losing 0-8 on their senior day. Hagadorn was not brought down by the loss.
"I thought we played pretty well. Everyone was encouraging. It can get really exhausting when we're down like that. But overall I think we played a good team game," Hagadorn said.
The Lion's defense surrendered six first half goals to Albany, who was led by senior Erin Tersegno. Hagadorn and Leblanc were taken aback by Tersegno play. At halftime, the Lions huddled and planned on how they could better defend against her.
"She's a great striker, very quick, faster than anyone on our team. We had to come up with a tactic to keep up with her, which was hard," Hagadorn said. "We did a better job of it in the second half."
The Lion's played a stronger second half. Although they were unable to get on the board, the defense gave up just two goals.
Head coach Bracey Fuenzalida said he was proud of the way the girls rallied in the second half.
"I saw no quit in them. I saw resolution. I saw enjoyment, even in the midst of a difficult circumstance. If you have that in an athlete, that means you can go pretty far with them," Fuenzalida said. "They beat us handily, but I enjoyed the fight out of our players."
Fuenzalida has only been the coach for a matter of weeks, but he said he has gotten to know the girls and has enjoyed every moment of watching the team grow during the season. When asked about the play of the two seniors on senior day, Fuenzalida had nothing but positive things to say.
"The two of them have exceptional character. They both have a strong faith and are great leaders on the team," Fuenzalida said. "Megan Leblanc went out of her way to help me from my first day coaching. I've coached many teams before, but having her to help me was incredible. I've gotten to know them both really well and I wish I had gotten to coach them all four years."
Leblanc was impressed by the way Fuenzalida was able to come in and coach the team. However she said this game felt weird to her.
"This being a final home game felt absolutely weird. I came to King's to play soccer and that's almost over," Leblanc said. "But I'll still be excited to see the program grow over the next few years."