She’s a double threat on the Wildcats’ soccer team, and every other coach in the NECC league backed that up with their votes. Read about our Rookie and Goalie of the Year!
Bay Path’s Athletic Director, Steve Smith, called first year phenomenon Alma Rizvani ‘17 a “double threat.”
He knew that the soccer player from Prospect, Connecticut promised to add some solid fundamentals to his roster, and her ability to play both field and goalie positions made her a force in scoring and saves. But he added, “We’re surprised and thrilled how this year turned out for her.”
That’s because Rizvani recently won both the Rookie of the Year and Goaltender of the Year awards from the Division III New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), the first time a Wildcat has ever won both simultaneously. She was also named to the NECC 1st Team.
Finishing the season with the second-highest save percentage, Rizvani said with a smile that due to her incredible season, she knew she was in consideration for the Rookie honor, but the second award? That’s one goal she didn’t see coming.
“There was another goalie who had a higher save percentage than me, so I just didn’t think I’d get that one,” she said. But her overall game time, as well as her combined field statistics, made the other NECC conference coaches give her their vote her as the top spot. She said she was humbled by the experience.
“For the confidence my teammates had in me, I told them that these awards are great but they were a part of it too,” she said. “After all, if we hadn’t won those games, who knows if I would still have gotten the awards?”
The Wildcats started their season with conference pundits placing them in the bottom three out of the ten other colleges. But head coach Chris Streeter galvanized his team, implementing his roster in such a way to wrest continued success over the course of the season. The team ended up in third place in the conference, and Streeter was named Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year by the NECC. Rizvani herself didn’t start as goalie, but after a few split games between the field and goal, Streeter quickly assessed her strengths and kept her on defense.
Rizvani’s high school opponents were no stranger to her stonewall defense. She was the starting varsity goalie for her four years in the Naugatuck Valley League, where her Woodland Regional High Hawks soccer team made league tournaments every season. In her senior year, Rizvani said the Hawks dominated the league and made it to the championships before losing in edge-of-the-seat a final. She was named one of the best players in the state, and in that last year was given the Xara MVP award from the Connecticut Coaches association. Rizvani’s long trajectory promises to help take the Wildcats even further.
But what does a champion do at the end of a winning season? “I’m anxious for the next season to start!” Rizvani said.
Energized by their season, the Wildcats are looking forward to an indoor league season this winter, and Rizvani said she’s going to train harder than ever before. “I’m not satisfied with just accepting this award and not pushing forward,” she explained. “Don’t get me wrong—this is a great honor. But we have team goals, and we’re going for them.”
“We have every intention of making the NCAA tournament, if not next year, then the year after that,” she stated. “We’re going to be in this 100 percent.”
She’s a dynamic player who hasn’t taken her eye off the ball. With her fellow Wildcats going into the offseason with a keen focus on the future, you could say that Rizvani and company are clearly goal oriented.