by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor
Photos Courtesy of St. Bonaventure Athletics
What a difference a year makes.
Last year, the St. Boanevnture University women’s soccer team didn’t even know if they were going to have a season. After Covid knocked out their fall season, the Atlantic 10 went ahead with a spring season.
The only difference was the Bonnies would only play the same three teams for the duration of the campaign. No non league contest - and no games against others team in the A10. It made for an interesting season - and one that could shave gotten boring at time, especially when playing the same team over and over again.
“Last season we only played three teams, and that kind of got to us,” stated St. Bonavemture senior Alex Farrance. “After you lose to a team once, you are like holy crap this sucks. Then you have to keep playing them. This season has been a lot nicer because we have been playing different teams - and seeing how these different teams play.”
Farrance has been s steady influence for the Bonnies since she stepped foot on campus four years ago. Coming from Penfield, where she tallied 15 goals and 30 assists during her three year career, Farrance has been fighting to see the pitch during her time with the Bonnies.
Farrance, however, isn’t a stranger when it comes to St. Bonaventure. Her dad played baseball for Bonnies,so she knew about the tight knit community. Still, it was a little bit off a culture shock coming from a bigger public school to a small Catholic school that only has a student body of around 2,500.
“I used to a bigger school, where I graduated with 500 kids,” stated Farrance. “But, I really like it a lot. You know everyone when you are on campus. It was definitely different coming from Rochester, where it’s more of a city, to coming here where you are more small town USA.”
Farrance had made the adjustment coming to the Bonnies look easy - and when she gets into the games she knows she needs to be on her A game at all times. Not the tallest player playing in the midfield, Farrance, who stands at 5-foot-4 inches, knows she needs to battle for every 50/50 ball that comes her way.
Sometimes it’s not about going up for the header with the bigger players from the other schools. Sometimes it’s all about positioning on the field - and being i the right place at the right time.
“I definitely need to be on my A game,” stated Farrance by phone. “It helps that I have always been more of a physical player on the field. So, that has always been an advantage for me knowing that I’m not tall, that I am still physical. “You have to kind of use that to your advantage, instead of using your height, because I obviously can’t do that. It was a little nerve-racking at first, but I figured I’d never be tall - so I had to adapt.”
Adapting is something that Farrance has had to do ever since coming to St. Bonaventure. She went from a starter on her high school in Rochester, and her Empire United team, to barely seeing the pitch in the beginning.
A lot of players may have sulked, and possibly transferred, as to get more playing time. While it has been frustrating at times, Farrance has taken it in stride as works hard on the pitch when she does finally get her opportunities.
“It definitely was a big adjustment,” stated Farrance. “When you come to DI everyone was the star of their high school team. All of a sudden you get here and you are like holy crap you are surrounded by players just as good as you. You have to get used to the fact that people are going to be better than you, and that you have to work for your position (on the team). It’s just not going to be given to you. It’s definitely hard on you at first, but once you get used to it you realize that even though your aren’t starting you still are important to the team.”
Farrance knows what it takes to succeed on and off the field as both her parents her Division I athletes in their own right. While her dad was a Bonnie like herself, her mom was a Division I soccer player at Penn State University.
Having DI parents comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is she can go to both of them to lean on them during trying times. The disadvantages sometimes is that they kind of know that they are talking about.
Farrance can’t complain to much , because her parents lived through the same thing she has.
“Sometimes you can’t it blow off (what they are saying) because they did play DI sports - and they know what they are talking about,” Farrance said with a laugh. “My mom of course is a little bit more hardcore into soccer - because she was a DI soccer player. So, she is more like this is what you have to do. And, I’m just like yep. I can’t tell her she’s wrong because she was a forward too - so you obviously knows what she’s talking about.”
This being her final year, it’s time for Farrance to look ahead to her future. Soccer will also be there, and it had given her great memories for the past how many years, but now she is starting to focus on the next chapter of her life.
What that will be she might not even know. She will be armed with a marketing degree ready to get out in the world and see what the next step might be.
“As a senior you get asked that question a lot,” stated Farrance. “I want to do something more toward social media marketing. I think that is a lot of what my generation is about. I don’t know, it’ something that I need to figure out in this next year. I’m trying got figure it out as I go.”