Women's soccer releases 2018 schedule; Bears host Crossover Challenge to begin Karim Diallo era

Casey Luongo tallied 11 goals as a freshman in 2017.
Casey Luongo tallied 11 goals as a freshman in 2017.

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — The first season with Karim Diallo at the helm of the NYIT women's soccer team will begin in eight weeks as the Bears host the East Region Crossover Challenge.

The four-team event kicks off with an Aug. 31 match against Assumption at noon at President's Stadium. NYIT then faces Stonehill at 1:30 p.m. the following day. Nyack also will participate.

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NYIT is coming off a breakthrough season. The Bears posted a 9-7 overall record in 2017 and came within one point of earning the program's first-ever postseason berth.

Diallo, an assistant coach with that squad, ascended to head coach with the departure of Rachel Reeves for Sacred Heart.

D2CCA second-team all-region selection Dina Simonian graduated in May and will be limited to contributing as a volunteer assistant coach, but the Bears return standouts including rising sophomore Casey Luongo. A second-team All-East Coast Conference selection a season ago, Luongo produced 11 goals in 2017. That tally came within two goals of matching the program's single-season record.

Diallo has surrounded Luongo and her fellow returnees with an influx of talent that should allow the Bears to compete with the ECC's elite squads. Among the newcomers is Islip High School forward Hannah Franco, the New York State Class A Player of the Year and a United Soccer Coaches Fall High School Girls All-America selection.

NYIT opens ECC play on Sept. 15 against Roberts Wesleyan in Old Westbury.

The ECC will welcome Lincoln College to the league this season as an associate member for women's soccer as well as baseball. The Lions visit President's Stadium on Sept. 22.

NYIT women's soccer will stage its Senior Day ceremony before a noon matchup against Bridgeport on Oct. 13 at President's Stadium.