The beginning of the 2016 fall season for Stony Brook Women’s Soccer marks the dawn of a new era for the program. New coach Brendan Faherty takes over the program after 31 seasons under Sue Ryan.
However, this is not Faherty’s first time on campus. He remembers playing at Stony Brook in the late 1990s, when he competed against them during his time as a student-athlete at Northeastern. But that was before Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium was even built.
“We played on that grass field, way back, between the turf fields and softball field,” Faherty recalled. “I see how far this school and this campus have come in roughly 17 years, it’s pretty impressive.”
Prior to signing a contract with Stony Brook, he served as the assistant women’s soccer head coach at both the University of Washington and the University of Massachusetts and as the head coach for the University of New Haven for eight seasons. He is looking to translate his success in his previous jobs to Stony Brook.
While a new coach does mean a new direction, there is still plenty of roster turnover from last season’s team.
Senior forward Raven Edwards and senior midfielder Priscilla Wiggins are two players who have helped smooth the transition to a new coach by working hard and leading by example.
“They were both two of the top three people in our fitness test,” Faherty said. “They have a lot of attributes I believe in, and I can relate really well with both of them.”
Edwards enters the season as the clear cut leader of this team. Over the last two seasons she has lead the Seawolves in goals scored, including finishing second in the conference last season with nine goals. Faherty wanted Edwards to shoot all summer to work on her striking and is expecting a lot of goals from her this season.
“He made it easy for all of us to buy into what he wanted with the program,” Edwards said of her new coach.
Junior goalkeeper Shannon Robinson was named starting goalie after beating out senior goalie Emily Doherty, who started most of the Seawolves games last season.
Robinson, a four-year letterwinner in high school, redshirted and suffered from injuries in her first two years with the team. Wiggins was moved from her role as a defender to a midfielder to get her involved in the offense and transition.
Brendan Faherty and the Seawolves will look to improve upon the team’s America East record of 3-4-1 in 2015.
Player to Watch: Priscilla Wiggins
Senior midfielder Priscilla Wiggins is the player to watch as Stony Brook Women’s Soccer begins the 2016 season. But Wiggins is no newcomer. She enters the season as a fifth-year senior who was able to play this fall season because she redshirted in 2014.
She was a major contributor as a defender in her first few seasons with the Seawolves. Wiggins has three career goals and has shown that she can work with the offense when given the opportunity. Coach Faherty switched things up this year by asking her to play midfield — a transition she has been working hard on all summer.
“I had to work on my game awareness and also my first touch,” Wiggins said. “So in the game it’s just being aware of everyone around me and being able to play it tight spaces.”
Wiggins will add another element to the team’s transition from defense to offense and experience to the Seawolves’ attack.