Roger Williams Women's Soccer Earns Top Spot In Preseason Poll

Roger Williams Women's Soccer Earns Top Spot In Preseason Poll

 

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Roger Williams earned the top spot in the 2016 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) preseason women's soccer coaches' poll as the Hawks try for their third consecutive CCC title.

The reigning CCC champions received 96 points in the poll, including six first place selections. Voting was conducted by the league's 10 head women's soccer coaches.

Last season, the Hawks were an impressive 8-0-1 in conference play, while going 20-1-3 overall. Their only loss of the season came in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament against William Smith. Roger Williams' earned its spot in the Tournament by claiming the Conference title in a 3-0 victory over Gordon in the CCC Championship match.

Wentworth, which was picked to finish second this year, earned the four other first place votes giving the Leopards 94 points.

The University of New England (75 points), Endicott (73), and 2015 CCC runner-up Gordon (53) took up the three, four, and five spots respectively.

Salve Regina (52), Western New England (33), Curry (31), Eastern Nazarene (28), and Nichols (15) rounded out the poll in that order.

The women's soccer season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 1 with nine of the 10 CCC teams participating in non-conference contests. The conference schedule begins on Sept. 10. The top eight teams in the 2016 regular season conference standings will qualify for the CCC Tournament, which starts with the quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 29 and concludes with the Conference Championship a week later on Nov. 5.

Click HERE to view the whole 2016 CCC women's soccer schedule.

 

2016 CCC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll

 

Team Points (First Place Votes)
1. Roger Williams 96 (6)
2. Wentworth 94 (4)
3. University of New England 75
4. Endicott 73
5. Gordon 53
6. Salve Regina 52
7. Western New England 33
8. Curry 31
9. Eastern Nazarene 28
10. Nichols 15

 

2016 CCC Women's Soccer Previews


1. Roger Williams

The Roger Williams women's soccer team enjoyed one of the best seasons in program history in 2015. The Hawks won their sixth Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship in team history and second consecutive conference title. Over the course of the season, the team set a new program record with 20 wins, while going unbeaten in the team's first 23 games (20-0-3) and advancing to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

This year, the team looks to repeat as conference champions and make a deeper run in the NCAA Tournament. Though the Hawks lose Mariah Kaiser, two-time CCC Offensive Player of the Year and NSCAA All-American, the team still brings back a slew of returners with championship experience.

Among those coming back is 2015 All-CCC First Team senior defender Kristen Casey (East Longmeadow, Mass.) who was second on the 2015 Hawks with seven assists.


Kristen Casey, RWU

2. Wentworth

A season ago the Wentworth women's soccer program had its finest season in program history as the Leopards finished 17-3-2 overall and were 8-1 in Commonwealth Coast Conference play which was good for second place. Wentworth advanced to the semifinals of both the CCC and ECAC Tournaments and the squad broke program records for lowest goals against average (0.53) and shutouts (12).

With 21 letter winners returning from last year's record-breaking season, the Leopards should be in a good position to compete for their first CCC title. Senior Mary Pastorelli (Whitesboro, N.Y.), the reigning CCC and ECAC Defensive Player of the Year as well as an All-New England selection, helps to anchor a stingy defense which allowed just 12 goals in 22 contests. Pastorelli also has three goals and an assist. Classmate Morgan Miller (Schenectady, N.Y.), who like Pastorelli was a first team All-CCC selection and named All-New England a season ago, returns to patrol the midfield for the Black & Gold and had a career-best seven points as a junior. Sophomore Madyson Reno (Simi Valley, Calif.), the 2015 CCC Rookie of the Year, led Wentworth with eight goals scored last season and her 18 points ranked her second on the team. Classmate Micaela Robinson (Goshen, N.Y.) had a solid rookie campaign in net as she set single-season program records for goals against average (0.55) and wins (15).

 

 
Morgan Miller, WIT

3. University of New England

The University of New England and seventh-year head coach Heather Davis have 10 starters back from the 2015 edition of the team, which posted a winning league mark for an eighth straight year. Five all-conference selections are included in the group, led at the back by senior goalkeeper Brielle Robinson (Monson, Mass.), who led the CCC in shutouts (5) and was second in wins (6). More than 80 percent of the CCC goal-scoring returns as well, highlighted by the team-leading points holder in senior forward Jessica Meader (Scarborough, Maine). Senior midfielder Taylor Littlefield Langevin (Sanford, Maine), senior defender Maria Philbrick (Scarborough, Maine), senior midfielder Devon Wolfenden (East Longmeadow, Mass.) are back in their All-CCC roles for the Nor'easters, too, as is senior defender Katelyn Pierson (Saco, Maine), who was picked all-league during her first two seasons.

 

 
Brielle Robinson, UNE

4. Endicott

Endicott will look to return to championship form for the first time since 2013 as the Gulls exited the CCC tournament in the semifinals in 2015. Under 12th year head coach Jodi Kenyon, the Gulls will look to captains Casey Mellen (Litchfield, N.H.) and Nicole Taylor (North Easton, Mass.) to lead a roster that is young and talented.  Endicott's lone returning All-CCC player from the 2015 squad is sophomore midfielder Sharlotte Pernice (West Springfield, Mass.), who received Third Team honors in her freshman campaign, while keepers Kristin Hartlage (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Caroline Armbruster (Stowe, Vt.), who split time in 2015, will look to compete with Shelby Elwell (Litchfield, Conn.) for the starting role. Endicott will square off against three programs that appeared in the DIII NCAA Tournament last year in Roger Williams, Springfield and Babson as well as multiple regionally ranked opponents from 2015 with hopes that the tough schedule prepares them for another CCC title run.

 
Nicole Taylor, EC

5. Gordon

A surprise run to the Commonwealth Coast Conference title game was an interesting twist to Coach Chuck Breton's first year at the helm of the program. A mix of new and old faces will need to mesh if the Scots want to make a championship game appearance for the third time in four years. Leading scorer Jamie Breton is graduated, which gives the reigns to sophomores Jill Kefalas (Wenham, Mass.) and Kiersten Klose (Concord, N.H.), who combined for eight strikes in their rookie season. Senior Kara Dry (Madison, Conn.) will be looked too for leadership and poise in the middle of the field, as she has showed during her previous three years. A new-look defense anchored by junior Kaelyn Silveira (Bristol, R.I.) will be Gordon's biggest test heading into the year.

 
Jill Kefalas, GC

6. Salve Regina

Second-year head coach Jane Walsh returns a pair of solid goalkeepers both in their second year with the Seahawks – Carly Pala (Milford, Conn.) and Morgan McBrier (North Kingstown, R.I.). "They bring such a presence in goal directing the back line," says Walsh. 

Christine Pala (Milford, Conn.) and Courtney Bouchard (Middleton, Mass.) will hold down the back line in front of McBrier or the younger Pala. Lea Adams (Sandwich, Mass.) anchors the center midfield for the Seahawks who also return leadership with second-year captain Raine Oesterle (Monroe, Conn.). 

Returning the league's rookie of the year and the team's leading goal scorer, Abby McMackin, (Walpole, Mass.) Salve Regina will get more offense from this year's crop of newcomers including Ella Rath, Kayla McLaughlin, along with twins Emily and Katie Szemreylo 

 

 
Abby McMackin, SRU

7. Western New England

Kristin Hensinger '07, a 2015 Western New England Downes Athletics Hall of Famer and longtime assistant coach under the recently retired Ron Dias, takes charge of the women's soccer program heading into 2016.

Hensinger will have four of her top five leading scorers from last fall back this season, led by senior forwards Emma Norden (Belchertown, Mass.) and Brooke Labrie (Granby, Mass.), who compiled 12 points each with five goals and two assists. Also returning is senior defender Katelyn Cummings (Feeding Hills, Mass.), a two-time All-CCC selection who started 17 of 19 matches last fall and recorded seven points on two goals and three assists. Cummings will serve as co-captain along with junior defender Brittney White (Milford, N.H.).

Western New England hosts Hartwick College in its 2016 season opener on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Suprenant Field, before hitting the road for a pair of contests at the 12th annual Husson Classic on Sept. 3-4. The Golden Bears open their CCC slate against the University of New England on Saturday, Sept. 10. 


 
Brooke Labrie, WNE

8. Curry

Curry head coach Jason Tassinari returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Colonels. In his first season at Curry in 2012, the team improved by three wins. In 2013, the team qualified for the CCC tournament. In 2014, the Colonels notched 11 wins, the most the program has achieved since 2008. Last year, the Colonels continued their steady progress going 13-6-2, and earning an ECAC tournament bid.

 
Curry will be a veteran team, relying heavily on the team's strong defense and last year's point-leader, senior captain Kaitlyn Lima (New Bedford, Mass.).  Other returning contributors will be senior captain Kelly Parker (Branford, Conn.), junior captain Abby Ford (Halifax, Mass), senior Briana Fitzsimmons (East Haven, Conn.) and junior captain Korinna Tsonis (Dartmouth, Mass.). Senior Morgan Stott (Dartmouth, Mass.) will once again be the team's starting goalkeeper as Curry looks to improve on a successful 2015 campaign.

 

    Morgan Stott, CC

9. Eastern Nazarene

Head coach Bob Meals enters his first season at the helm of the Lions' women's soccer program. Eastern Nazarene posted a 5-9-3 overall record in 2015 with a 2-5-2 mark in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Lions reached the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament for the fifth-consecutive season, falling to top-seeded Roger Williams in the quarterfinals. Rising senior Katherine Lawrence (Marlborough, Conn.) earned All-CCC second team honors last fall after leading the team with 19 points while Kelly Couite (West Bridgewater, Mass.) ranked second on the squad with 18 points. Eastern Nazarene kicks off the 2016 campaign Sept. 1 at home against Lesley.

 

  Katherine Lawrence, ENC

10. Nichols

The Bison women's soccer program begins its first season under head coach Sonia Basma in 2016. Nichols lost more than 50 percent of its goal scoring from last season, leaving plenty of chances for seven freshmen and one transfer to earn playing time. Sophomore Brook Downey (Middleboro, Mass.) is the incumbent goalkeeper while seniors Christina Barrows (Carver, Mass.) and Morgan Gidley (Dartmouth, Mass.) anchor the defense.

 
Jillian Krish, NC

 

Season previews contributed by each school's sports information department.

 

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Team

Points (First Place Votes)

1.

Roger Williams

96 (6)

2.

Wentworth

94 (4)

3.

University of New England

75

4.

Endicott

73

5.

Gordon

53

6.

Salve Regina

52

7.

Western New England

33

8.

Curry

31

9.

Eastern Nazarene

28

10.

Nichols

15