Women’s Soccer Season Recap

women's soccer players in action on field

Jillian Hall ’24, Riley Boucher ’26, and Barrett Callejo ’27 (pictured, center) each played a key role in the improved season performance by VMI women’s soccer.—Photo courtesy VMI Athletics.

Always looking to improve, the VMI women’s soccer team continued to make progress under Chris Haught-Thompson, fifth-year head coach.

A successful soccer program has a mix of both senior leadership and up-and-coming talent, and the 2023 team was fortunate to have both.

Barrett Callejo ’27, forward, was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team following a successful season in which she logged one goal on the year to go with two assists, which tied for the team-high in helpers. She also ranked second on the squad with 26 shot attempts for the season. She was also named to the SoCon All-Tournament Team after scoring the first goal of the game in VMI’s hard-fought 2-1 opening-round loss to Wofford College at the SoCon Tournament.

Senior leadership was on display with Jillian Hall ’24, goalkeeper, who became the program’s all-time leading saves leader after finishing with 389 career saves over the past four years. She tallied 123 saves during the 2023 season, breaking the record during the match at the University of South Carolina Upstate. The Beacon Falls, Connecticut, native surpassed the previous record held by Jessica (Rheinlander) Brynestad ’08 (2004–06), who logged 296 saves during that span.

The highlight of the season came in VMI’s thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind win against rival The Citadel at home. Down 2-0 at the half, the VMI women’s soccer team rallied to score three second-half goals to top the Bulldogs on Drill Field No. 2. The big win marked VMI’s first Southern Conference victory since a 1-0 win over Mercer University Oct. 22, 2017, and also snapped a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs as VMI’s last win over The Citadel came Oct. 20, 2017—a 1-0 win in Lexington.

Riley Boucher ’26, forward, earned her first career brace in the win, scoring two goals in the final 20 minutes of the match. With VMI down 2-1, her equalizer came at the 70:58 mark off an assist from Morgan Anderson ’24, and her game-winning goal came at the 82:31 mark as she used a spin move to duck a The Citadel defender. Sedona Dancu ’25 scored first for VMI early in the second half at the 49:50 mark as she raced behind the Bulldog defenders and stuck a shot into the upper right corner to cut into VMI’s two-goal deficit coming out of the break. The goal marked Dancu’s third of the season.

Boucher finished the year with a team-high four goals, followed by Dancu’s three. Callejo, Caroline Marini ’26, and Eva Torres ’27 each had one goal over the course of the season.

The Keydets also excelled in the classroom as Audrey Davis ’25 and Delilah Martindale ’25 were named College Sports Communicators Academic All-District recipients for possessing a cumulative GPA above 3.5 and competing in at least 90% of the team’s contests.

With a strong incoming recruiting class, all signs point forward to a successful 2024 campaign and beyond.