Lyons qualify for 11th straight NCAA tourney, face Mitchell at Eastern
NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's soccer team is headed to its 11th straight NCAA Tournament this weekend and will face Mitchell College at Eastern Connecticut State University during Saturday's opening round at a time to be announced. The host Warriors will meet Worcester State University. Saturday's winners advance to Sunday for the right to advance to the following weekend's sectional round.
Selected as an at-large team after advancing to a conference tournament semifinal for the 16th consecutive season, the Lyons enter the NCAA Tournament with a 16-4-2 record after going 6-3 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Wheaton, which will meet Mitchell for the first time in program history, is ranked in a tie for sixth in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Mitchell is 10-7-2 after defeating Lesley University in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Tournament championship game on Saturday night. The Lyons, who defeated Worcester State in overtime during their second game of the season, enter the weekend winners in five of their last six contests, while Mitchell has won five straight.
Wheaton is 13-10-1 in NCAA Tournament play under 14th-year head coach Luis Reis, who has led the Lyons to at least 16 victories in each of the last 12 seasons. Reis boasts one of the highest winning percentages among NCAA women's soccer coaches with a record of 268-45-14 (.841). Wheaton is 4-5-1 on the road at the NCAAs and is 7-4 away from Mirrione Stadium this season.
Holding a 54-16 scoring advantage with a 0.71 goals against average and 10 shutouts, the Lyons are led by senior back Alessia Viscomi (Newton, Mass./Newton North). The lone player to have started all 22 games, Viscomi anchors a Wheaton defense that has limited opponents to a goal or less 19 times. Offensively, Viscomi is fourth on the team in scoring with 14 points.
Classmate Colleen Liffers (Merrimac, Mass./Pentucket Regional), who began the year on defense before playing multiple positions over the course of the season, shares the team lead with three game-winning goals alongside 11 points in 21 starts. Three Lyon goalies have seen considerable time this fall, with junior Erin Cawley (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) leading the pack with a 5-2-1 record, 0.56 GAA and five shutouts.
Senior Emily Hough (Norwich, Vt./Hanover) paces the offensive unit with 27 points, a team-best seven assists and a team-high-tying 10 goals. Hough is among Wheaton's all-time leaders in goals, assists and points. Sophomore Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H./Central) and freshman Rebecca Raymond (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) have contributed 24 and 21 points, respectively, with three game-winners each, while junior Jessica Stuart (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) has added 12.