Lynchburg Tops Women’s Soccer Poll

Lynchburg Tops Women’s Soccer Poll

Virginia Wesleyan, Washington and Lee Complete Tight Top Three

FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College collected eight first place votes on the way to 116 points to lead the 2011 ODAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll.  Virginia Wesleyan College switched spots with Washington and Lee University from the 2010 coaches’ survey, with the Marlins picking up three top nods and 110 tallies.  The Generals corralled the remaining first place vote and 101 points (full poll results below).

Both Virginia Wesleyan and Lynchburg took to the pitch in the 2010 NCAA Division III Tournament.  The Marlins squared off with Hamilton College in the first round at John Hopkins University.  The Continentals got the best of VWC with an early goal in the second half for a 1-0 win.  With aspirations of a second straight trip to the national semifinals driving its efforts, Lynchburg slid past first round foe Transylvania University via a 12th minute goal by Katie Santos.  The Hornets saw their postseason end earlier than expected in round two as host Emory University scored in the second overtime period to secure a 1-0 victory.

Lynchburg (18-3-2 overall, 10-0-1 ODAC in 2010), ranked 18th in the NSCAA Preseason Poll, will be trying for its 10th overall ODAC women’s soccer crown and fourth in the last five years.  Gone from last season is All-American striker Betsy Kwiatkowski, but LC returns six all-conference selections, including five from the All-ODAC First Team.  Midfielder Brittany Klippstein (18 goals, 2 assists) heads the first team cast after leading the ODAC in goals scored.  She’s joined by fellow midfielder Jessica Gonzalez (5g, 2a), forward Kristen Melchiori (13g, 5a), and defenders Tori Dott (2g) and Shelley Hoath (6g, 1a).  Melchiori was third in the ODAC in goals scored behind Klippstein and Kwiatkowski (15g), forming the nucleus of an offense that scored an ODAC-best 84 goals (third in the country).  Also returning is All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Joanie Snyder (2g, 10a), who finished second in the ODAC in assists.

Virginia Wesleyan (13-5-4, 8-2-1) enjoys the return of six of its top scorers from a season ago.  Forwards Christina Fernandes (8g, 7a) and Jessica Edelman (7g, 4a), both All-ODAC First Team choices, are joined by All-ODAC Honorable Mention midfielder Danielle Stephens (7g, 2a), as well as forwards Kristyn Anselmo (7g, 2a) and Katie Gradel (6g, 1a) and midfielder Hanna Winkel (6g, 4a).  The Marlins will be charged with replacing three all-conference defenders, including a pair of first teamers, from a unit that surrendered just 15 goals last season.

Washington and Lee (10-6-2, 7-3-1) hung its hat on defense in 2010, as the Generals allowed an ODAC-low 12 goals.  All-ODAC Second Team defenders Heather Deisher and Katheryne Lawson (1a) are back to help duplicate the effort, as is goalkeeper and former ODAC Player of the Year, Emily Leary (0.79 goals-against-average, 49 saves, 5 shutouts).  Ainsley Daigle (4g, 2a) will look to lead a recharged Generals’ offense that includes speedy winger Allie Espina (2g, 1a).

Roanoke (13-4-3, 9-0-2) will be without a familiar face in four-time first team midfielder Jessica Welfare, but three all-conference players return to Salem for 2011.  All-ODAC Second Team choices, forward Rebekah Adams (9g, 4a) and defender Maya Kantor (1g), are joined by All-ODAC Honorable Mention midfielder Steph Parenteau (12g) as the trio look to lead the Maroons back to the ODAC title game for the time since 2007.

Bridgewater (9-8-1, 8-3-0) returns all five of its all-conference performers from last year’s team that won eight league games, the most wins during ODAC play in Eagles’ program history.  Included in the list of returning players are four All-ODAC Second Team players in forwards Brittany Harris (5g, 1a) and Melanie Waters (9g, 2a), midfielder Meghan Groos (2g, 6a) and defender Jessica Palmer.  All-ODAC Honorable Mention midfielder Abby Dehoff (5g, 1a) and fellow midfielder Jacey Kelley (5g ) add more punch to the Eagles’ offense.

Randolph-Macon (6-8-3, 3-5-3) welcomes back all but one of its four all-conference selections from last season.  All-ODAC Second Team forward Amanda Nelms (8g, 2s) spearheads the offense, along with All-ODAC Honorable Mention striker Erin Hauser (4g, 4a).  The defense will have fellow honorable mention honoree Megan Calabrese (1a) back in action.

Eastern Mennonite (7-9-2, 5-5-1), Guilford (6-11-2, 3-6-2) and Emory & Henry (3-12-2, 2-7-2) look to continue their upward trends in and towards the ODAC postseason.  The Royals enjoy the return of All-ODAC Second Team forward Taylor Wenger (8g, 5a), as well as the defensive duo of Rachel Kennel (1g) and Michelle Miller (1a).  The Quakers feature All-ODAC Second Team midfielder Bri Eilman (4g, 4a), in addition to top-scorer Sarah Levitt (7g, 2a) and goalkeeper Kat Adams (1.30gaa, 51sv).  The Wasps welcome back two of their top three scorers in forward Kellie Flaherty (7g, 1a) and midfielder Loren Favale (4g).

Hollins (6-12-0, 2-9-0), Randolph (5-10-1, 2-8-1) and Sweet Briar (4-13-0, 0-11-0) also look to climb the ODAC ladder in 2011.  Back for HU is All-ODAC Honorable Mention goalkeeper Kristen Norkus (3.11gaa, 180sv), as well as top scorers Becca Logan (8g, 2a) and Dani Franklin (6g).  The WildCats feature the ODAC’s fourth leading point-getter from 2010 in All-ODAC Honorable Mention forward, Marielle Rando (10g, 4a).  She is joined up top by Ashley Stevens (1g, 1a).  The Vixens welcome back leading scorer Sierra Palmieri (4g, 4a), as well as midfielder Alison Lifka (2g).

Listed below is the 2011 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  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 (8) 116 pts.
2. Virginia Wesleyan (3) 110 pts.
3. Washington and Lee (1) 101 pts.
4. Roanoke 92 pts.
5. Bridgewater 85 pts.
6. Randolph-Macon 69 pts.
7. Eastern Mennonite 58 pts.
8. Guilford 56 pts.
9. Emory & Henry 40 pts.
10. Hollins 26 pts.
11. Randolph 23 pts.
12. Sweet Briar 16 pts.