HCC women’s soccer ranked 6th in nation

HOLYOKE — Returning six players from one of the most successful seasons in recent years, the 2011 Holyoke Community College (HCC) women’s soccer program is ranked sixth in the nation in the NJCAA Division III pre-season poll.

After finishing with an overall record of 14-5 last season and making it all the way to the NJCAA Division III Elite Eight, the Cougars are primed for another great season under eight-year head coach Rob Galazka. Galazka enters this season with an overall career record of 83-48-4.

“There are many reasons to be excited about the 2011 season,” he said.

Two of which include 2010 All-Americans Alicia Carter and Amanda Grant, who will return for the Cougars this fall. Carter was named 2010 first team All-American at the midfielder position and Grant received second team All-American honors as a forward.

In addition, HCC will return four more key players from last year’s team. Defender Amanda Cummings and midfielder Jenna Seymour received All New England honors last season. Midfielders Sarah Miller and Aubrey Romani will look to put in another strong season for the Cougars.

HCC can also expect big things from the incoming freshman class of 2011. Four freshmen played on the 2010 Chicopee Comprehensive High School Division 1 Western Massachusetts Championship team and one other freshman played on the 2010 Gateway Regional High Division III Western Massachusetts Championship team.

The Cougars’ season came to an end last year in the NJCAA Division III Elite Eight with a 3-1 loss to Howard Community College of Maryland. Howard CC is ranked No. 5 in this season’s national NJCAA Division III pre-season poll. HCC is the only college in their respective region to be ranked in the NJCAA Division III pre-season national poll.

The first home game for HCC will be on Sept. 7 against Dean College at 4 p.m.

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