Five-Time Champ Penn State Berks Tops 2018 NEAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll

Five-Time Champ Penn State Berks Tops 2018 NEAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll

GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – In search of its sixth-straight conference title, Penn State Berks has been selected as the preseason favorite in the 2018 North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women’s soccer preseason poll.  

NEAC defending champion Penn State Berks received 10 of 12 first-place votes to earn a total of 118 points. With nine starters returning to the pitch, the Nittany Lions will look to remain atop the league standings after posting a 15-6-1 overall record and a perfect 10-0-0 mark in NEAC play last season. Penn State Berks brings back an impressive crop of returners, including NEAC Offensive Player of the Year Caitlin Golden (Lumberton, N.J.) and NEAC Defensive Player of the Year Megan Jardine (Mohrsville, Pa.). Golden is a senior forward who scored 26 goals and 11 assists in 2017 and led the NEAC in goals, points (63) and shots (159). Jardin will return for her junior year and serve as an anchor on a Nittany Lions’ defense that allowed just 14 goals last year. She also poses as an offensive threat after tallying 42 points in 2017. Head Coach Adrian Munteanu enters his 11th season with a strong group of freshmen and a solid core that will meet the likes of TCNJ, Johns Hopkins University and Swarthmore College in non-conference play.

Keuka College is ranked second after receiving a first-place vote and 102 total points. The Wolves will see a strong recruiting class fill out a roster that includes 17 returners and nine starters from 2017. Junior Emily McGuigan (Lusby, Md.) will be expected to pace the offense after scoring 15 goals and six assists to earn a NEAC All-Conference First Team selection last season. McGuigan will be supported by sophomore forward Kelsey Maurer (Bergen, N.Y.), who is coming off a 20-point rookie season, while NEAC All-Conference defender Jysenia Dunlavey (Hamburg, N.Y.) will return for her sophomore campaign. Head Coach Jessica Shufelt returns for her second season at the helm after guiding the Wolves to a 7-2-1 conference record in her first year. Keuka College will prepare for league play with non-conference matchups against the University of Rochester and Hartwick College.

After advancing to the NEAC Semifinals in 2017, SUNY Poly comes in at No. 3 with 91 points in the preseason rankings. The Wildcats return four starters from last year, including NEAC All-Conference First Team forward Nakeya Stedman (Sauquoit, N.Y.). Stedman enters her senior year after ranking 10th in the NEAC with 30 points and leading the league with six game-winning goals last fall. Sophomore Felicia Bianca (Guilderland, N.Y.) will look to fill the void left by the graduation of NEAC All-Conference goalkeeper Angela Bartlett while Tyler Renaud will begin his first season as the head coach for the Wildcats.

Lancaster Bible received the final first-place vote and 89 points to land at No. 4 in the coaches’ poll. The Chargers will look to blend 12 newcomers and 16 returners in an effort to make the NEAC postseason for the eighth-straight season. Senior Maddie Dionne (Landisville, Pa.) will help hold down the defense after earning NEAC All-Conference Second Team honors in 2017 while returning seniors Kiersten Hatch (Manheim, Pa.) and Michaela Landis (Gap, Pa.) are also expected to make an impact in the upcoming season.

Penn College rounds out the top five with 88 points after advancing to the NEAC Championship game in 2017. Head Coach Christa Matlack begins her first year with the Wildcats and will lead a group that includes 14 returners in 2018. Key returners include a number of NEAC All-Conference selections in sophomore forward Dominique Brown (Benton, Pa.) and junior defender Francesca Timpone (Smithtown, N.Y.) while sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Gonzales (Lititz, Pa.) will be coming off an 8-6-5 record with a 1.29 goals-against average last year.

The full 2018 women’s soccer preseason rankings can be found below:

Rank Institution (First-Place Votes) Total Points
1. Penn State Berks (10) 118
2. Keuka College (1) 102
3. SUNY Poly 91
4. Lancaster Bible (1) 89
5. Penn College 88
6. Morrisville State  81
7. Penn State Abington 58
8. Cazenovia College 52
9. Wells College 47
10. Gallaudet University 32
11. SUNY Cobleskill * 17
12. College of Saint Elizabeth * 17
* Tie broken by higher ordinal number points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the NEAC women’s soccer coaches, with each coach ranking all teams but their own using a staggered points system (11 points for a first-place vote, 10 points for second, etc.). The 2018 NEAC women’s soccer season will begin Friday, Aug. 31, with a full season schedule available on the NEAC website.

********************************************************************************************************************************************

The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has 12 NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, Morrisville State, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, and Wells College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (W Lacrosse), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse), Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf), and Wilson College (M Volleyball). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sport of men’s tennis and with the Colonial State Athletic Conference in the sport of Field Hockey. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.