TOWSON, Md. – The three-time defending champion University of Scranton women's soccer team has been selected to repeat as Landmark Conference champions. The Royals secured four first place votes on the way to 54 total points to lead the 2013 Landmark Women's Soccer Preseason Poll. The 2012 runner-up, Moravian College, notched one first place vote and 40 points while Drew sits third in the poll with 38 points and the two remaining first place votes. Catholic University earned the fourth spot with 33 points.
Scranton (9-7-5, 4-0-2) has earned four of the six Landmark Conference championships including the last three straight. Last year, the Royals went unbeaten in conference play and did not allow a goal in the six Landmark regular season games. The defense held strong in the tournament as the team shut out Catholic 1-0 in the semifinal and outlasted Moravian 2-0 in the championship game.
Even though Scranton lost two first-team all-conference players and the 2011 Landmark Defensive Player of the Year to graduation, veteran coach Colleen Murphy returns a wealth of talent, led by senior forward Samantha Russo, a three-time first-team all-conference performer. The defense will be anchored by senior goalkeeper Kelsy McAnelly, a first-team all-conference selection who has posted 22 shutouts over the past two seasons.
Moravian (10-9-2, 4-2) head Coach Brienne Smith returns 15 players and 10 starters from her squad that played in the Landmark Conference Championship match last fall. The group includes Landmark Co-Offensive Player of the Year Kirsten Schall; however, Coach Smith will need to find a replacement for four-time All-Conference and 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Eileen Black.
A young Rangers team won 10 games in 2012 and qualified for the second ECAC Tournament in the last three seasons. Drew (10-8-3, 3-1-2) returns nine of its 11 starters from last season including last year's co-Offensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, Emma Campbell. She is one of three All-Conference selections to return in 2013.
Catholic (6-9-3, 2-2-2) is the last Landmark team to beat Scranton dating back to the 2009 conference semifinal game, the same year the Cardinals went on to win the championship. Head coach J.P. Sousa returns a number of players from a year ago including First Team All-Landmark selections Tricia Colucci and Lexi Halperin. One of Catholic's top defenders, Colucci helped the team post six shutouts last season. Halperin started every match of her rookie year and finished with a conference-leading 91 saves in 1,667 minutes of action.
Goucher College (12-4-2, 2-4) was picked fifth in the poll with 18 points while Juniata College (9-7-1, 2-4) and Susquehanna University (4-9-3, 0-4-2) tied for sixth with 17 points.
The 2013 season kicks off Friday, Aug. 30 with all seven teams in action.
The top four teams in the final regular season standings qualify for postseason play in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The top two seeds will host semifinals Nov. 6 with the highest remaining seed scheduled to host the championship Nov. 9. The conference champion will earn the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
|2013 Landmark Women's Soccer Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Institution (First Place)||Points|