TOWSON, Md. – The University of Scranton earned 68 points and six first-place votes to sit atop the 2017 Landmark Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll. Moravian College earned 54 points and the final two first-place votes for second while Catholic University grabbed 50 points for third place. Susquehanna University and Elizabethtown College each earned 30 points to tie for fourth.
The Royals return a talented group of juniors who will lead the team in its quest to defend its conference title, which was its fifth Landmark crown in the conference's 10 years. Jamie Hreniuk will lead the offense after tallying 13 goals and three assists. Five of the squad's next five points leaders also return, and they combined for 24 goals and 21 assists last season. The offense will need to help out a retooled defensive unit, which graduated Defensive Player of the Year Carolyn Warner, three-time first-teamer and former Defensive Player of the Year Erin Casey, and two-time first-team goalkeeper Krissy Welsh.
Moravian has 19 players and nine starters returning this fall from last year's 10-7-1 squad that reached the Landmark Conference Championship match. Leading that group is junior forward Gabby Stelzmiller, who was on the Landmark All-Conference First Team and the NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region Third Team. Ykoruk has four other Landmark honorees returning in senior defender Lauren Bertucci, senior goalie Jessica Lawton, junior midfielder Shea Duka and sophomore defender Paige Weiss, the reigning Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year.
Catholic looks to build on an 11-4 campaign in 2016 and used a challenging slate this season to build momentum into the Landmark schedule. The Cardinals boast all-region midfielder Taylor Pisk along with two other All-Landmark performers in seniors Kate Thompson and Alexa Povelaitis. There are eight upperclassmen on the roster as Catholic looks to return to the top of the Landmark on the NCAA Championship.
The River Hawks return Co-Defensive Player of the Year and First Team selection Emily Sullivan, along with three other all-conference performers in Alyssa Bolger, Mairead Ruane, and Marissa Heddings from last year’s 4-3 (12-6 overall) team. Susquehanna will need to fill the hole left by goalkeeper Jordyn Slocum, who posted an 8-5 record and a 1.03 goals against average.
Elizabethtown looks to make a return to the postseason after missing out on the No. 4 seed in last year's Landmark Championship in a tiebreaker with Susquehanna. Sophomore forward Lydia Lawson ranked fifth in the conference in goals (9) last year, while senior defender Maria Boretti was an all-conference choice.
Drew University was picked sixth with 20 points while Juniata College finished seventh with 11 points. Goucher College rounded out the poll with nine points.
The 2017 season begins with non-conference play on Friday, September 1. The first set of Landmark contests is slated for Saturday, September 30. The Landmark Tournament will begin on Wednesday, November 1 with the top-four teams. The highest remaining seed will host the championship on Saturday, November 4.
|2017 Landmark Women's Soccer Preseason Poll|
||Points (First-Place Votes)|