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Leaving A Legacy: Mustang Women's Senior Class Reflects Upon A Magical Season

Leaving A Legacy:  Mustang Women's Senior Class Reflects Upon A Magical Season

The 2017 Mount Ida women’s soccer season was certainly one to remember, as the Mustangs enjoyed their best season in a decade and built a foundation for future success in Head Coach Brigi Palatino’s inaugural campaign at the helm. 


With a relatively young squad in place, Palatino guided Mount Ida to its highest single-season wins total (eight) since 2007 that included the first triumphs over Great Northeast Athletic Conference foes Suffolk and Rivier in a combined 11 season period.  All eight of the Mustangs’ victories came via shutout, a testament to the stingy defense and balanced scoring attack shown throughout the fall by a team that featured 15 of its 22 members being either freshmen or sophomores.


But the legacy that is the 2017 Mount Ida women’s soccer team will forever belong to the five members of the Mustang Class of 2018 who will graduate knowing that their leadership, hard work, discipline and vision paved the way for their teammates to climb the ladder of future success.  And as Palatino begins preparations for her second season in Newton next fall, her departing Mustangs comprised of seniors Hailey Serino (Northwood, N.H./Coe-Brown-Northwood), Rachel Lambert (Lebanon, Conn./Lyman Memorial), Morgan Rzonca (Bristol, Conn./Bristol Eastern), Hannah Lilac (Hoosick Falls, N.Y./Hoosick Falls Central) and Heather Pollock (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet Regional), shared their thoughts on what made the season so special and the positive direction the program is heading in.


What made the difference on how the program turned around so quickly?


Rzonca:  We as a team became a unit. We believed in each other and had a coach who believed in us. Though belief takes you a long way so does hard-work and dedication so instilling that was very important for us to do well.


Lambert:  The drive that everyone had to change how things have been in the past.  The whole team wanted to change how Mount Ida Women’s Soccer is looked at and show everyone we are here to compete.


Pollock:  Taking time and making time. Doing the extras other teams weren’t doing.


Serino:  I believe it was every player’s desire for change, their work ethic, and positivity.


Lilac:  The drive to be better.  Workout and intensity that we all brought.


Where is the program heading?


Lambert:  This program is heading in a positive direction and will only get better from here.  With the incredible coaching staff and drive that all the players have only more improvements and surprises will come from this program.


Pollock:  Definitely up. Doing what hasn’t been done in a decade in just 8 months!


Serino:  The program is heading into a new era, having tied most wins in a decade and making a name for Mount Ida as a competitive team again.


Lilac:  Up! If everyone keeps working hard it will only get better.


Rzonca:  I believe there is nowhere but up for this program. Keeping a positive mindset. Working hard day in and day out, as well as doing it for yourself and others will push this program forward.


For the future Herd, what does it mean to be a part of the Herd?


Pollock:  It means your part of a family who fights day-in and day-out for everyone to leave better than before.


Serino:  It means to be dedicated to the other women you play alongside on Alumni field or whenever we travel, working hard and playing with heart is what it means to be part of the herd.


Lilac:  To be a family. To work for something that we could never get before.


Rzonca:  We have a family. Don’t take anything for granted. The 4 years you have here playing soccer go by very fast so putting your all into it every day with a positive attitude makes everyone work that much harder.


Lambert:  Being a part of the herd is to never be taken lightly.  You will always work hard for not only yourself but your teammates. Never back away from a challenge and never give up.


Your final thoughts about the season…


Serino:  An amazing last season that will never be forgotten. Thanks to the coaching staff for having belief in us.


Lilac:  Great season, glad to be part of it.


Rzonca:  Believe in yourself and others! Work hard during the off-season it only helps!


Lambert:  Going from winning three games to winning eight in one year was awesome! Imagine where this program will be after a couple more years.  Keep working hard and it will show.


Pollock:  Dedication is key!


As the senior class reflected on the season just past, Palatino also reflected on those same questions and offered additional insight into the accomplishments of the past and the bright future for the Mustangs ahead:


What made the difference on how the program turned around so quickly?


It is remarkable to have such success in my first season leading the Mustang Herd but it did not happen overnight.  We earned our success and closed the gap because of our hard-work in the offseason and because we trusted and believed in each other and what we are doing.


Where is the program heading?

The future of the Herd is very bright because we have instilled a culture founded upon hard-work, positivity, trust and belief.  It is an exciting time to be part of the Mustang Herd in a program that has already turned a lot of heads and I would consider the dark horse of our conference.


For the future Herd, what does it mean to be a part of the Herd?


To be part of the Herd you must be positive, driven, motivated and willing to work hard. Nothing is going to be handed to us and we earn our success.



The memories made from the 2017 Mustang women’s soccer season will always be an indelible part of the athletic landscape at Mount Ida, and the legacy left by a group of five outstanding student-athletes and leaders will certainly be a tough act to follow. 


But, undoubtedly, more memories and magical moments are sure to come in Mustang City in 2018.  And beyond.