By Mark Mausner — STAFF WRITER
After losing Jill Mulholland to graduation, the Hofstra Pride women’s soccer team was left in need of a spark plug to fill in the gap left by the fifth leading scorer in program history. Through the first half of the 2017 season that productivity has come from an unlikely source, freshman forward Sabrina Bryan.
Bryan, a native of Cecil, Pennsylvania, has poured in nearly a quarter of the team’s goals so far this year. However, success on the pitch isn’t new to her as she finished her high school career at Canon-McMillan High School with the second most goals and assists in school history.
“It was definitely fun doing that. I was behind Taylor Schram, who played with the national team at one point, and that was great to try and be able to chase her goals,” Bryan said.
As prolific as she was in high school, Bryan’s seemingly smooth transition to Division I soccer hasn’t come without putting her nose to the grindstone.
“With the way they want us to play here I need to run a lot more than I used to. I’ve been working hard on getting fit and making sure I can do what I need to do to help the team win,” Bryan said.
The exercise science major has been able to meet the high demand for her services, currently sporting the second most shots and goals scored on the team behind senior Kristin Desmond.
Her production so far is also a testament to how well she has been able to adjust to a new system, stemming from the mind of head coach Simon Riddiough.
“My high school and old club team would try to possess the ball a little bit more and play around the back a little. Here we just try to go to the goal as fast as we can and try to counteract the other team,” Bryan said.
Bryan’s ability to be on the same page as her mentors is one of the reasons that helped her become a member of the Hofstra Pride in the first place.
“They stuck with me through the whole process and they were so supportive of everything … so I had a great feeling from the coaching staff because of that,” Bryan said.
Bryan is just one of six freshmen on the roster and all of the assistance they’ve received from the team’s upperclassmen hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“They make sure we know what we’re supposed to do with equipment [and] that we’re getting to practice on time and with schoolwork and everything,” Bryan said.
Being far from home hasn’t stopped Bryan’s family from chipping into the effort either.
“I’m extremely close with my family so it was hard for me to come all this way. They’ve been watching all of my games online and they came to my game at Pitt so they’ve been so supportive,” Bryan said.
Hofstra (3-3-2) currently sits in sixth place on the CAA standings this season and with conference play quickly approaching, Bryan knows what her team must do to shine through the home stretch.
“I think just working together, meshing our passes better, understanding each other’s runs … I think as the season goes on we’ll just keep getting better and better,” Bryan said.
Whatever success Hofstra has from here, Bryan will likely play a significant role in it. The specifics of that role, however, are irrelevant to her as long as the Pride is on the high side when it’s all said and done.
“The goal is to win. The goal is to get to the CAAs and win that as well … If I’m the one scoring goals, that’s great. If I’m getting assists, great. If I’m not doing any of that and I’m just helping out defensively, that’s fine too,” Bryan said.