Cook leads Bison soccer in 10-0-1 undefeated season

Bethany Blass, Sports Co-Editor

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Led by head coach Kelly Cook, the Bison women’s soccer team is in the midst of a winning 10-0-1 season, with a 4-0 record against conference opponents thus far. The fourth head coach for the University’s women’s soccer program has succeeded in making drastic improvements to the program since her first season.

The Warners, N.Y. native was a natural athlete, excelling most in soccer at her alma mater, West Genesee High School. Her soccer career continued at Colgate, where she was a standout student-athlete and two-year captain until her graduation in 2006. Cook tallied an impressive 27 goals and 23 assists during her career at Colgate to earn awards such as Patriot League Tournament MVP her junior year. She then spent a few years playing for the Rochester Rhinos and the Western Mass Pioneers in the USL W-League.

Looking for a way to incorporate her passion for soccer into a career, Cook realized that coaching would be an ideal career for her. It wasn’t until her time spent as an undergraduate student-athlete at Colgate that she realized she wanted to coach at the collegiate level.

“I loved my college experience and wanted to have the opportunity to provide a similar experience to future student-athletes,” Cook said.

Cook began her coaching journey at Amherst College, where she dedicated three years to assistant coaching the nationally ranked Division III team. Prior to accepting her position with the Bison in March 2015, Cook was most recently an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Dartmouth College, where she had been coaching since 2010. Her time with the Big Green resulted in three second-place finishes in the competitive Ivy League.

As a young coach looking for a place to call home, Cook relied on her experiences as a Patriot League student-athlete at Colgate to guide her to the University. After coaching in the New England Small College Athletic Conference and Ivy League, she returned to the Patriot League with the Bison. Between the impressive academic curriculum the University has to offer and its strong commitment to athletics, Cook knew the balance in Lewisburg was the perfect fit for both her personal and professional lives.

Her first regular season with the Orange and Blue in the fall of 2015 resulted in a 6-1-2 finish in Patriot League play. Under the guidance of Cook, the team has garnered program records in shutouts and scoreless minutes, and has accomplished numerous undefeated streaks. Named the 2015 Patriot League Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year, Cook was the first Bison coach to earn this award since 2001.

Though still in the midst of the current season, the Bison women’s soccer team has had a strong showing both in and out of conference. The team has come out on top after some impressive battles in overtime, most recently overcoming conference contender and Cook’s alma mater Colgate. The Orange and Blue are currently unbeaten across the board.

Cook has been most impressed by her team’s improvement throughout the course of the season.

“Each individual has worked incredibly hard at being a better version of themselves. The team has bought in to our plans and goals and has been able to execute them game-by-game. I cannot wait to see what is in store for this tremendous group that has already accomplished so much. I look forward to creating many more highlights this year,” Cook said.

Looking to continue their impressive, record-breaking season, the Bison will hit the road the next few weekends to take on conference opponent Navy Oct. 8 and then return home Oct. 15 to face American.

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