Women's Soccer Poll Tabs LC at Top

Women's Soccer Poll Tabs LC at Top

Generals, Marlins Follow Close Behind in Top Three

 FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College collected nine first place votes on the way to 140 points in the 2010 ODAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.  Defending ODAC champion Washington and Lee University sits second following the annual coaches’ survey with 129 poll points and a pair of top nods.  Virginia Wesleyan College collected the remaining first place vote towards 126 total tallies (full poll results below).

Both Lynchburg and Washington and Lee took to the pitch in the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament.  The Generals, who earned the ODAC title via penalty kicks over Virginia Wesleyan (3-2), played host to a three-game series in the first and second rounds.  Lynchburg opened play in Lexington with a 5-1 trouncing of Catholic University, which was followed by an equally impressive 4-0 blanking of Christopher Newport University by Washington and Lee.  The two ODAC foes squared off the next day in round two, marking their second meeting in 10 days.  The Hornets made amends for their ODAC semifinal loss to W&L with a 2-0 victory.

Lynchburg made its way to San Antonio, Texas, for what would prove to be the first to two weekends in the Lonestar state.  In the sectional round, the Hornets knocked down previously unbeaten Concordia-Moorehead, 4-0.  The quarterfinals pitted LC against host Trinity University, which also was undefeated coming into the contest.  Each squad managed a first half goal, but 120 minutes of action concluded with the score deadlocked 1-1.  Lynchburg got the best of the Tigers in the penalty shootout, 4-2, sending the Hornets to the national semifinals.

LC returned to San Antonio two weeks later for a date with Washington University-St. Louis.  The Bears jumped on the board late in the first half, but an own goal by Wash-U early in the second frame leveled the score.  The 1-1 scoreline maintained through regulation and overtime.  The Hornets spot-kick luck ran out as the Bears advanced to the finals on PK’s, 4-3.

Lynchburg (17-3-5 overall, 9-1-1 ODAC) steps back onto the turf in 2010 with several holdovers from a 2009 team that led the ODAC in points (200), goals scored (71) and assists (58).  Eight players recorded 10 or more points last season with seven returning for another go-round.  Three-time All-ODAC First Team striker Betsy Kwiatkowski (6 goals, 8 assists) leads that group.  The senior playmaker is also tied for seventh on the ODAC’s all-time assist list with 36 helpers.  Kwiatkowski is joined in the attack by 2009 leading scorer and second team choice, senior Brittany Klippstein (9g, 7a), as well as senior Katie Santos (7g, 3a) junior Joanie Snyder (7g, 3a) and sophomores Shelley Hoath (11g, 2a), Kristen Melchiori (7g, 4a) and Sam Halbach (3g, 5a).  As often as they found the back of the net, the Hornets’ defense let in only 11 goals, tied for tops in the conference with Virginia Wesleyan and Washington and Lee.  Second team choice, junior Beverly Hoath, is the top returner to this unit.

Winner of its third ODAC women’s soccer championship in 2009, Washington and Lee (17-2-3, 9-0-2) welcomes back several standouts from its title run, including ODAC Player of the Year, goalkeeper Emily Leary.  The junior backstop recorded a league-best 13 shutouts to go along with a 0.54 GAA and 55 saves.  She is joined in the defensive third with fellow first teamer Kat Lawson and fullback Heather Deisher, returning three major parts to the W&L defense that allowed just 11 goals in 22 games.  The offense features first team winger and 2009 top scorer Allie Espina (12g, 2a) as well as second team forward Ainsley Daigle (9g, 5a).  Fellow second team choice, midfielder Caroline Lamberti, adds to the Generals’ transition game.

Virginia Wesleyan (17-4-1, 10-1-0) also returns several standout performers from the league’s second-rated offense (161p, 62, 37a) and top defense (11 goals against), including three all-conference athletes.  First team defender Blaze Byrd and second team back Bridget Claus look to again be stabilizing forces in the defensive third, leaving the scoring to each of the Marlins’ top-three returning scorers.  Katie Gradel (8g, 3a), Jessica Edelman (6g, 5a) and second team selection Courtney Whorten (5g, 5a) were three of seven Marlins to score 10 or more points.  They’re joined by Hanna Winkel (4g, 4a) and Christina Fernandes (4g, 2a). 

Senior midfielder Jessica Welfare headlines the 2010 Roanoke (12-7, 7-4) squad as she goes in search of a fourth All-ODAC First Team selection.  Welfare (8g, 2a) will again pull the strings for RC from the center of the pitch with midfielder Steph Parenteau (9g, 2a) and forwards Carmen Graves (5g, 3a) and Rebekah Adams (4g, 2a) working off her.  Senior defender McKenzie Garst patrols the right wing following a 2009 campaign in which she notched a team-high and ODAC second-best nine assists.

Randolph-Macon (11-6-0, 7-4-0) welcomes back several standouts including reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, Erin Hauser.  Hauser led the ODAC in points (32) and was tied for third in goals scored (13) to open her career in Ashland.  She teamed with conference goals scored leader, second teamer Amanda Nelms (14g, 1a), to form a dynamic freshman tandem a year ago.  Twin sister Angela Nelms (7g, 6a) and midfielder Ashley Malinowski (2g, 4a) are joined by second team defender Megan Calabrese (3g, 2a) in adding more firepower to the Yellow Jackets’ attack.

Six double-digit scorers return for Bridgewater (13-6-1, 7-4-0) in 2010 following a season in which a young roster earned some valuable experience.  Included in that group of holdovers is second team forward Meghan Groos (8g, 5a) as well as Brittany Harris (9g, 5a), Sara Taylor (5g, 9a), Jacey Kelley (6g, 4a) and Caroline Banks (4g, 3a).

Eastern Mennonite (7-11-0, 4-7-0), Guilford (7-12-1, 4-6-1) and Emory & Henry (10-8-0, 4-7-0) look poised to continue adding to the depth of the talent in the ODAC.  The Royals feature a young roster that will look to new players to pick up the scoring load, but  undisputed #1 keeper Abby Diffenbach (1.72 GAA, 140 saves – 3rd in the ODAC) will provide an experienced backbone for EMU.  Guilford will look towards second team midfielder Bri Eilman (7g, 4a) to continue her success in Greensboro.  The Quakers will also be counting on goalie Kat Adams (1.81 GAA, 96 saves) to continue her development between the pipes.  Emory & Henry boasts one of the ODAC’s top goal scorers in midfielder Loren Favale, who tied for third with 13 goals.  She’s joined by striker Kellie Flaherty (5g, 2a) and goalkeeper Hayley Poland (109 saves).

Hollins (4-12-1, 2-9-0), Sweet Briar (3-13-1, 1-10-0) and Randolph (3-14-0, 0-11-0) look to continue their improvements within the league.  Hollins’ top returning scorer is sophomore Sara Poole (2g).  The HU defense features defender Erica Smith (2a) and goalkeeper Kristen Norkus (99 saves) from a unit that surrendered 14 fewer goals than the previous campaign.  Sweet Briar welcomes back 2009 top scorer, Caitlin Swauger (5g, 2a), and goalkeeper Seanne Weekes, who recorded an ODAC second-best 142 saves.  Victoria Johnson returns between the posts for Randolph following an All-ODAC First Team season in which she saved a conference-high 211 shots on the way to becoming the ODAC’s all-time saves leader (749).  She’s joined by top returning scorer, Amanda Cooper (2g, 3a).

Listed below is the 2010 ODAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools’ websites, or go to the ODAC’s home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don’t forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook by clicking HERE.  You can also follow the ODAC on Twitter by clicking HERE

(#) Denotes First Place Votes

1. Lynchburg (9) 140 pts.
2. Washington and Lee (2) 129 pts.
3. Virginia Wesleyan (1) 126 pts.
4. Roanoke 105 pts.
5. Randolph-Macon 93 pts.
6. Bridgewater 85 pts.
7. Eastern Mennonite 67 pts.
8. Guilford 60 pts.
9. Emory & Henry 54 pts.
10. Hollins 35 pts.
11. Sweet Briar 23 pts.
12. Randolph 19 pts.