FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - Two-time defending champion Christopher Newport was tabbed as the unanimous favorite to three-peat in the 2018 Capital Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Preseason Poll. The Captains, who captured their second-straight CAC Tournament Championship last fall, received seven first-place votes and 49 points to run away with the top position in the voting.
Salisbury claimed second place with 41 points, followed closely by Frostburg State (37 points), which received the other first-place vote.
St. Mary's (30 points) edged Mary Washington (28 points) for fourth place, with York (18 points), Penn State Harrisburg (12 points) and Southern Virginia (9 points) rounding out the team rankings.
The 2018 season begins on Friday, Aug. 31 with all eight CAC squads in action on opening day. CAC competition begins Sept. 29 and runs through October, with the CAC Championship game slated for Saturday, Nov. 3.
2018 CAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
Points (First-Place Votes)
|1.||Christopher Newport||49 (7)|
|3.||Frostburg State||37 (1)|
|7.||Penn State Harrisburg||12|
Below is a team-by-team preview entering the 2018 campaign:
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT is ranked No. 17 in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll and is coming off a 19-1-1 season last year. The reigning CAC champions return all but two starters from last year's record-breaking squad, while welcoming back over 83% of it's scoring. The Captains set program records for most goals, points, and wins in a season, and were led by CAC Player of the Year Gabby Gillis and Rookie of the Year Riley Cook. Both return to the field in 2018 after tying for the league lead in scoring. Gillis was the program's first ever first team All-American and will round out her illustrious career in 2018, while Cook missed the final three games to an injury and will look to build on the finest freshman campaign in program history. Junior defender Keiley McCarthy, an All-Region selection, will help anchor a talented back line, while junior forward Carson Pokorny returns to the front of a dangerous CNU attack after tying the program record for assists last season.
FROSTBURG STATE looks to continue its success as it has reached the CAC title game in each of the last two seasons. The Bobcats return seven starters to its lineup for the 2018 campaign. Last year the Bobcats posted eight shutouts and outscored CAC opposition 15-6 in league play. Junior forward Brooke Shehade was named All-CAC First Team for the second-consecutive season after leading Bobcats with 10 goals and 23 points. She led the CAC in points (19) and goals (8) in conference play. The Bobcats return their two other leading scorers up front with senior forwards Danielle Ferris and Hailey Turney. Senior goalkeeper Rhianna Lapen returns after missing all of last season due to injury.
MARY WASHINGTON brings back nine starters that look to improve on their 4-4-1 conference record in 2017. Headlining that list is 2017 All-CAC performer Brooke Bauman and 2016 All-CAC performers Corinne Carson and Christina Carlston. Bauman led the team in goals and assists this past season as a freshman. The Eagles are hoping for an immediate impact from the 13 newcomers they are welcoming to the team.
PENN STATE HARRISBURG, led by sixth-year head coach Adam Clay, is looking to use the momentum created by last season's first CAC playoff and ECAC playoff berths to propel the team to new heights this season. The Lions return 15 players from last season's roster including second team All-CAC Defender Madison Hemler. The Lions also return senior goalkeeper Kayla Arnold who was third in the CAC in saves last season.
ST. MARY'S advanced to its third consecutive CAC Tournament semifinals under fifth-year head coach Peter Krech in 2017. The Seahawks are looking to extend the streak as the team welcomes back eight starters, including All-CAC selections, Katie Flores '19, Emily Huey '19, and Emmey German '21. In addition, 10 newcomers are expected to make immediate contributions and push the veterans.
SALISBURY begins its 2018 campaign looking to build upon the success of last season's team that finished with a 7-2 conference record, including six straight shutouts to begin CAC play. The Sea Gulls will have some big shoes to fill with the departures of three senior All-Conference players but will return two others in sophomore back Kayla Homeyer and junior midfielder Dana Gordon. Homeyer and Gordon each earned the honor for the first time last season. Junior forward Julianna Boller and sophomore midfielder Brooke Rossiter both return after finishing tied for second on the team in goals in 2017. Head Coach Kwame Lloyd says the starting goalkeeper job has yet to be decided as sophomore Emma Hill and freshman Regan Benton continue to compete for the role heading into opening weekend.
SOUTHERN VIRGINIA will be led by head coach Kenzie Cox entering her third season. The Knights return six starters including Senior defender Anne Powell. Powell who earned a second team All-Conference selection, will anchor the defense. Southern Virginia is hoping to build from last season.
YORK is looking to rebound from a challenging 2017 season that saw the Spartan struggle against a very strong schedule. The Spartans scored 18 goals in 16 games during the year. York does return their lone All-CAC selection in senior Caitlin Rankin. Rankin will be joined by twin sister Alyssa Rankin and fellow captain Natalie McCarthy. Sophomores Jess Wieber and Sydney Kahn return in goal for the Green and White.