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Women’s Soccer Defeats Gardner-Webb in Season Opener

by | Aug 17, 2023

Davidson senior Riley Patton in a photo from last season.


DAVIDSON, N.C. – The Davidson Wildcats women’s soccer defeated non-conference opponent Gardner-Webb 2-0 to open the 2023 season on the road Thursday at 6 p.m. The ‘Cats led the Bulldogs in statistics across the board: shots (9-4), shots on goal (5-3), and corners (8-4). Both Wildcat goals were scored in the first half, with Riley Patton scoring the first goal of the season at the 13:59 mark. That goal was followed up by Aleia Gisolfi-McCready at the 23:57 mark. Patton was assisted by Brooke Ditcham and Gisolfi-McCready by Lilly Lovell. 

The ‘Cats returned 18 players from last year’s roster which made it to the Atlantic 10 semifinals and posted a 13-3-4 overall mark and 5-2-3 conference record.

Davidson returned to campus Aug. 7 and quickly began its preparations for the season while welcoming a new coaching staff in head coach Riley Piechnick, assistant coach Sophie McKnight and goalkeepers coach John Morgan.

A trio of captains are set to lead this year’s team — seniors Brooke Ditcham and Riley Patton and junior Emily Smith.

Ditcham returns as a vital part of the Wildcats’ back line as she appeared in 19 games and tallied six points on two goals and two assists a season ago. Ditcham has a great track record against Gardner-Webb and scored two goals, including the game-winner, last season.

Patton serves as a midfielder for Davidson and started all but one match during the 2022 season. For the year, Patton scored five points on two goals and one assist in addition to landing 46.2 percent of her shots throughout the year on target.

Smith will look to pick up where Mary Grace Bunch left off in goal after playing 35 minutes of a 7-0 shutout victory a year ago and appearing in six games with five starts to total 600 minutes during the 2021 season. For her career, Smith has made 22 saves with a high of 11 at George Washington.

Junior Aleia Gisolfi-McCready returns after being the leading scorer a season ago with nine points on four goals and one assist.

Maddie Moody, a junior defender, and Charlotte Snead, a sophomore midfielder, are the Wildcats’ only returners other than Patton to have seen time in all 20 contests last season. Moody tallied four points on two goals while Snead totaled three points on one goal and one assist.

Pheobe Fowler (4 points, 2 goals), Alli Jacobson (4 points, 2 goals), Lilly Lovell (3 points, 1 goal, 1 assist) Katy Talotta (3 points, 3 assists), Raine Jones (2 points, 1 goal) and Savannah Pruitt (2 points, 1 goal) round out Davidson returners who scored points last season and will look to continue to make their impact.

Charlotte Snead was an A-10 All-Rookie Team honoree last year.
– A freshmen class of 10 has joined the roster.
– The home opener for Davidson is set for Thursday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. against UNC Asheville.
– The Wildcats’ schedule features eight non-conference matches to go along with 10 A-10 contests.

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