Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Senior spotlights: Women’s soccer seniors were “iconic” and shaped the program

This year’s women’s soccer graduating seniors have it all: All-Conference players, bass-shredders, and karaoke stars. They made it to the quarterfinals their 2021 sophomore season and won the NEWMAC championship last year in their 2022 junior season.

Two graduating seniors—Brittney Righetti and Gina Lukoskie—earned spots on the NEWMAC All-Conference First and Second Teams, respectively. Righetti and Lukoskie were one of four seniors that “led this team to a 10-win season by being strong, athletic, and intelligent soccer players,” according to Head Coach David Suvak.

Starting off the fall sports teams’ senior spotlights, the Beacon conducted interviews with women’s soccer players and coaches to gain insight into how this year’s seniors impacted their team, both on and off the field.

Simone Barragan-Shaw — Midfield

For sophomore defender Presley King, Simone Barragan-Shaw will be the hardest goodbye this season. Simone was her biggest role model and one of her closest friends on the team.

“I saw a lot of myself in her when I came onto the team,” King said. “I remember watching Simone playing when I was going through the recruiting process. I was like ‘wow, that girl is really good.’ And then it was awesome getting to know her and seeing her personality unfold.”

And “really good” she was. Associate Head Coach Colin Connolly praised Simone for her drive for the game since her freshman year.

“Simone, right off the bat, showed up and got a ton of playing time right away,” Connolly said in an interview with The Beacon. “She made an impact right from the start.”

Simone’s biggest impact on the team—specifically on junior goalkeeper Amara Schaub—may have come in last year’s first round playoff game against Wheaton, when she scored the tying goal.

“Simone grabbed my arm and said, ‘I’m going to get one for you, I promise,’” Schaub recounted. “I remember watching Simone tap the ball into the goal in the last minute of the game as if it was as easy as tying her shoe. When the whistle blew, Simone walked over to me and hugged me. She said, ‘I told you I would score, I always got you.’”

Simone had a career twelve goals at Emerson and started 48 of her 53 games played.

Gina Lukoskie — Forward

Lukoskie, one of the team’s two captains this season, has earned her teammates’ admiration equally on and off the field. Lovingly nicknamed “Spicy G” by her teammates, Coach Suvak said, “Gina has had some hot sauce around her.”

King said she’ll always remember Lukoskie’s technical skills and “spice” on the field.

“Gina’s amazing and has the best footwork, so we say that she sauces people up,” King said. “At media days, she has a bottle of hot sauce that she does her media pictures with.”

Off the field, Lukoskie has shown her teammates her bass-shredding abilities. Schau shared the first time she saw Lukoskie play the bass.

“Let me be the first to tell you that Gina can shred,” Schaub said. “I guarantee you won’t meet someone else as humble as Gina that can play the bass like she does. I wouldn’t be shocked if she could play the bass with her tongue as Jimi Hendrix did.”

Between shredding the bass in her room and “saucing it up” on the field, Lukoskie played 55 games during her three seasons on the team. She started in 42 of those games and scored a career eight goals for the Lions.

Brittney Righetti — Forward

Brittney Righetti not only scored seventeen career goals but also took charge of social media responsibilities this year. She impressively earned a hat trick in the Lions game against Wheaton Mass on Oct. 6, 2023.

Coach Suvak had nothing but praise for Righetti’s years with the team.

“She is a very serious soccer player,” Suvak said. “She is in full control of our social media, which is highly professional, very well done, and very thoughtful. Brittney is a full 90-minute player.”

Righetti’s serious play on the field did not stop her from having fun playing soccer. Schaub shared about the connection she made with Righetti through the team’s fitness test, the beep test.

“One moment that brought me and Brittney closer was our fitness test,” Schaub said. “It didn’t matter if we were going to fail, we were going to make each other go farther. I am so thankful for her and everything she brought to the team and my life—scoring goals, making media for Instagram, being my beep test buddy, or just being my friend.”

Righetti totaled 17 career goals for the team and played 51 games in three seasons.

Jessica Saavedra — Forward

Jess Saavedra was the team’s self-proclaimed “captain of fun,” according to Emma Brady.
Saavedra’s senior season was cut short due to a torn ACL, but not before she made a positive impact on the Lions’ 2023 season.

In Emerson’s Sept. 9 game at Bates College, Saavedra scored in the last ten minutes of the tied game, propelling the Lions to their 2-1 win.

Though Saavedra could not finish her final season, Schaub recounted how Saavedra was still there for the team with her infectious laugh and smile.

“The team decided to go to karaoke,” Schaub said. “Jess was singing and dancing onstage like it was a concert. She had a brace covering her entire leg, but that didn’t get in the way of her singing and enticing the audience with her enthusiastic personality. She truly carries a presence with her that has the power to positively impact everyone she meets. ”

Saavedra showed the underclassmen that real leaders exhibit their prowess socially as well, sometimes by putting on a show-stopping performance at karaoke night.

Class of 2024

These four graduating seniors have a lot to look back on as they leave Emerson this spring. They made history for Emerson women’s soccer, winning the first NEWMAC championship in the program’s history. Connolly shared how the seniors impacted that run.

“They have been part of the most successful era of the program’s history,” he said. “This class in particular has really led a charge of setting a team culture and standard that we want to continue.”

The biggest impact they leave, though, are on the younger teammates they mentored. King, who has now played two seasons with the graduating seniors, shared how they shaped her soccer career at Emerson.

“They have been iconic,” King said. “These seniors have been revolutionary for the team and program. They’re never going to be forgotten.

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About the Contributor
Merritt Hughes
Merritt Hughes, Opinion Co-Editor

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