NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College women's soccer team is ranked 22nd in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division III Preseason Poll.
The Lyons are coming off a 2010 campaign which saw them post a 17-4-3 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 11th consecutive season. They also posted a 6-3-0 mark in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the 14th-straight season. The Lyons finished the season 22nd in the NSCAA Poll.
"Once again, it's great exposure for the program and the players to be nationally ranked in preseason, but as we all know, preseason rankings do not mean anything until you step on the field and start playing and proving yourself," said Wheaton women's soccer head coach Luis Reis. "I believe the recognition adds credibility to the program nationwide. It's certainly an honor to be recognized by the members of the NSCAA regional and national committees, but we have to be careful not to fall into a trap of believing that we have accomplished something before the season opener."
Wheaton welcomes back its leading scorer from a year ago in junior Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H./Central), who led the Lyons with 11 goals and 27 points. Seniors Jessica Stuart (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) (6-0-12) and Emily Vincunas (Granville, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) (3-3-9) will also be counted on to produce offensively.
Reis also welcomes back a pair of senior goalkeepers in Erin Cawley (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield) and Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, R.I./Wheeler School). Cawley posted a 6-6-2 mark with a 0.45 goals against average (GAA) and a .891 save percentage last season while Leddy went 5-0-1 with a 0.73 GAA and an .886 save percentage.
Hardin-Simmons (TX) sits atop the poll after finishing the 2010 season with a record of 24-0-1. Messiah (PA) is second with Otterbein (OH), William Smith (NY), and Emory (GA) rounding out the top five. Wheaton joins Williams College and Eastern Connecticut State as the only New England region schools in the poll.
The Lyons open the 2011 season on Thursday, Sept. 1 when they host Roger Williams at 4:30 p.m.
NSCAA Division III Preseason Poll: 1) Hardin-Simmons (Texas); 2) Messiah (Pa.); 3) Otterbein (Pa.); 4) William Smith (N.Y.); 5) Emory (Ga.); 6) Williams (Mass.); 7) Wheaton (Ill.); 8) Loras (Iowa); 9) Johns Hopkins (Md.); 10) Trinity (Texas); 11) Denison (Ohio); 12) College of New Jersey; 13) SUNY Oneonta; 14) Eastern Conn. St.; 15) Wisconsin-Stevens Point; 16) Dickinson (Pa.); 17) Illinois Wesleyan; 18) Lynchburg (Va.); 19) Redlands (Calif.), University of; 20) Chicago, University of; 21) Rochester (N.Y.), University of; 22) Wheaton (MA); 23) Carleton (Minn.); 24) Puget Sound (Wash.); 25) Concordia-Moorhead (Minn).