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In her freshman year at Emmanuel College in Boston, St. Mary’s graduate Kaylin Deschenes wasted no time making an impact on the Saints soccer team.
Deschenes worked her way into Emmanuel’s starting squad, getting the start in eight of the 19 games she appeared in last fall. Along the way, she scored four goals, including one game-winner, and logged three assists.
But the Lynn native isn’t getting complacent as she enters her sophomore season as a Saint.
Now Deschenes is moving toward a leadership role after getting her freshman season under her belt. Despite having played a lot of minutes as a freshman, the forward knows she’ll need to continue to improve her game in order to maintain her spot on the team’s depth chart.
“Every year is different. We have new freshmen coming in, and they’re on the same boat I was last year,” Deschenes said. “I need to give the same effort I did last year and earn my time.”
Getting a lot of playing time as a freshman was not necessarily in Deschenes’ plans coming to Emmanuel.
“I did not expect that at all,” Deschenes said. “I went in with an open mindset. I wanted to start, that was my goal.”
Reaching that goal required a lot of hard work on and off the field.
“I pushed myself in the offseason to go to the weight room, go running,” Deschenes said, “but I did not think I was going to get that much playing time.”
Deschenes received help in her first collegiate season from a familiar teammate. Maggie Carey, another St. Mary’s alum who Deschenes had played with briefly in her high school days, finished off a stellar career at Emmanuel last fall.
“She was a good bond to have on the team,” Deschenes said. “(Having her there) was definitely helpful, and a confidence boost. She showed me how to handle myself when I didn’t know how to. I didn’t have an advantage over anyone else because she was there, she had that bond with other girls as well. I had to earn my spot, but she pushed me to be better, told me what was wrong, and was always there for moral support.”
Deschenes has worked with Carey this summer to get ready for the season.
“I went down (to Boston) with Maggie a couple of times, she came and kicked the ball with me,” Deschenes said. “I’ve been doing running, sprints, the weight room…anything I can do to prepare.”
The focus now is on improving her skills and making an even greater impact on the Saints.
“I definitely want to improve on pretty much everything,” Deschenes said. “Strength, foot skills, communication, bonding with the team, everything.”
Emmanuel will be dealing with the loss of their veteran head coach, Wayne Currie, who resigned after 15 seasons at the helm of the program. After falling in the opening round of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs last season, the Saints will try to replace the seven seniors that graduated while adjusting to new co-head coaches Dan Campagna and Keith Rogers. Despite the upcoming changes, Deschenes is feeling confident about the new season.
“I’m feeling very strong about this team,” Deschenes said. “We did lose very strong players. But I’m very confident with the team we have, and we have some freshmen who are coming in.”
Emmanuel kicks off its new season September 1 at the Kean University Labor Day Tournament.