By Greg Dudek
Coming into this season, junior forward Erica Jonasson was not expected to become a main offensive weapon for the Bridgewater State University women’s soccer team.
However, in her second season with the Lady Bears, Jonasson has made a surprising leap to lead the team in goals scored with seven.
“The way Erica has started off the season did come as a surprise,” said senior forward Caley McClendon. “She has always been a hard worker, but this year the back of the net has become her best friend.”
After transferring from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth prior to last season, Jonasson said she struggled with the transition, resulting in a poor season last year in which she scored only five goals.
“Last year, I felt like I was worried about making mistakes and I feel this year, I have more confidence on the field,” Jonasson said.
With time to get more comfortable playing with her teammates, Jonasson’s play has taken off this season to lead the Lady Bears to a 4-4-1 record and a 1-0-1 record in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).
Bridgewater State started the season 0-2, but when Jonasson raised her level of play, starting three weeks ago against Plymouth State University, so did the rest of the team.
Against Plymouth State, Jonasson registered a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win, and followed it up with two goals in a 4-1 win over Rhode Island College.
If that wasn’t enough, Jonasson’s hot streak continued, as her two goals against Framingham State University helped the Lady Bears tie the Rams, 2-2.
“I honestly never go into a game expecting to score,” Jonasson said. “I’m usually more focused with just getting the win because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. We have such a talented team this season that I’m not surprised we’re doing as well as we are.
“I don’t think any of my goals have been unassisted so it just shows how talented my teammates are because it takes all 11 players on the field to score a goal. I just happen to be the last one who touched it.”
For her efforts in those contests, Jonasson received MASCAC Women’s Soccer Player of the Week honors and currently is third in the conference in goals scored.
“What I think has made her so successful is her work ethic, she never quits,” McClendon said. “She leaves everything she has on the field every game. It’s her [last] year and she is making every moment count.”
While her play has cooled off of late, Jonasson, who is in her last eligible season, still remains an important fixture in the Lady Bears’ offense. And if Bridgewater State is going to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003, Jonasson will have to play a key part in getting them there.
“I’m just going to have to continue working hard and maybe even harder and keep creating space on the field for more opportunities for the team to score so we can continue having a good season,” Jonasson said. “And hopefully be on the way to the NCAA Tournament which would be a great ending to my last year of playing college.”
Jonasson and the rest of the Lady Bears will host Worcester State University on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Greg Dudek is The Comment’s Editor-In-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at gdudek10 or email him at email@example.com.