NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College women's soccer team will make its 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend when the Lyons travel to Middlebury College to take on Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in first-round action on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The 11:00 a.m. contest is between the host Panthers and Husson University, with Saturday's winners advancing to Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the following weekend's sectional round.
Wheaton qualified for its third NCAA Tournament via an at-large berth to go alongside seven automatic qualifiers. The Lyons advanced to a league tournament semifinal for the 15th straight season after securing at least a share of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title for the 11th straight fall. Wheaton enters the tournament at 17-3-2 and is ranked 25th in the country and fourth in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Richard Stockton is 14-6-2 after tying The College of New Jersey in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament championship game before the Ospreys fell by a count of 7-6 in penalty kicks. Saturday's meeting will mark the first between the schools. Richard Strockton is ranked seventh in the latest NSCAA South Atlantic poll. The Lyons enter the weekend unbeaten in seven of their last eight matches, while the Ospreys have a three-game unbeaten streak with three shutouts.
Wheaton, which has posted a 12-9-1 record through its first nine NCAA Tournament appearances, is on the road for the second consecutive year after traveling to Glassboro, New Jersey, in 2008. Each of the Lyons' last five NCAA Tournament games were decided by shutout. Seventeen of Wheaton's 22 games this fall involved shutouts, including 15 by the Lyons, which ranks in a tie for the sixth-highest total in program history. During the team's seven-game unbeaten stretch prior to Saturday's 1-0 setback to eventual league champion Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it recorded six clean sheets.
Thirteenth-year head coach Luis Reis, who has led the Lyons to at least 16 victories in each of the last 11 seasons, has one of the highest winning percentages all time among NCAA women's soccer coaches while posting an overall record of 251-40-12 (.848). Wheaton is 3-4-1 on the road during NCAA Tournament play and is 8-3 away from Mirrione Stadium this season. The Lyons hold a 48-9 scoring advantage while limiting the opposition to a mere 0.41 goals per game, as they are ninth in all of Division III in goals against average.
Junior back Alessia Viscomi (Newton, MA/Newton North) is the mainstay of Wheaton's defense, having anchored a Lyon backline that has held opponents to a goal or less 20 times. Sophomore goalkeeper Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, RI/Wheeler School), who is tied for sixth in school history in single-season wins and tied for seventh in shutouts, is 15-3-2 with a 0.45 GAA and seven shutouts.
Senior Lyndsey McManus (Marshfield, MA/Marshfield) and junior Emily Hough (Norwich, VT/Hanover), who have each seen a considerable amount of time in the back, have also been key contributors on the offensive side of the field. McManus has turned in seven goals, nine assists and three game-winners, while Hough leads the squad with 10 assists to go alongside a trio of goals and two game-winners. Freshman Cassey Muse (Candia, NH/Central) has been Wheaton's offensive sparkplug with 15 goals, 33 points and eight game-winners. Her 15 markers are the third-highest freshman total in program history.