NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College women's soccer team was selected to their 12th consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Women's Soccer Tournament and will travel to Geneva, N.Y. for a first round match with Salisbury University this Saturday, November 12, at 1:30 p.m. on the campus of William Smith College.
The Lyons – who received an at-large bid – completed the regular season 15-3-3 and advanced to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conferece (NEWMAC) Semifinal round for the 17th consecutive season. They entered the final week of the regular season ranked fifth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) – New England Region poll.
Salisbury brings a 13-5-2 mark into the tournament following a 1-0 overtime win over St. Mary's (Md.) in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship on Saturday. It will be meeting Wheaton for the first time in program history.
"We're happy and relieved," said Lyons head coach Luis Reis, who saw him team extend its streak of seasons with at least 15 wins to 13 this season. "I felt we had a good chance to be selected, but you never know until you get the official word. It's also great for the NEWMAC to have two at-large bids."
Wheaton owns a 14-11-1 mark in NCAA Tournament play under Reis, including a 1-1 record last season. The Lyons defeated Mitchell 4-0 in the opening round before playing Eastern Connecticut State to a scoreless tie in the second round. The Warriors advanced on penalty kicks.
The Lyons boast one of the top offenses in the region, led by junior Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H.) and senior Kaitlyn Mawicke (Trumbull, Conn./Notre Dame Catholic). Muse led Wheaton in both goals (nine) and points (23) while tying for the team lead in game-winning goals with three. Mawicke, meanwhile, tallied 19 points (6-7-19) and closed the season with 11 points (4-3-11) in the team's final eight matches.
Sophomore Joy-Marie Fernandes (Woburn, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon School) finished with 16 points (6-4-3) with half of her goals holding up as game-winners. Senior Emily Vincunas (Granville, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) notched 12 points (3-6-12) with freshman Lauren Corigliano (Roselle Park, N.J./Roselle Park) posting 11 points (4-3-11).
In goal, senior and three-time NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week Lindsay Leddy (Warwick, R.I./Wheeler School) tied for the conference lead in wins (14) and placed second in goals against average (GAA) (0.53) and fourth in save percentage (.885). Her 10 shutouts are tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history while her 14 wins rank eighth.
"There is a reason we play the schedule we play. It has helped put this program in the position it's in, to be considered for an at-large berth," added Reis. "Our student-athletes worked hard all year long to be in this position, and this is their reward. Now we'll start to prepare for our next opponent and for a whole different atmosphere that our freshmen have never experienced."
The Sea Gulls are led by senior Amanda Miele (Green Village, N.J./Chatham) with 10 goals and 22 points. Junior Sarah Pfundstein (Crofton, Md./South River) was second with 13 points (4-5-13) while sophomore Colleen O'Connell (Kingsville, Md./John Carroll) was third with 10 points (2-6-10). Freshman Melissa Conrad (St. James, N.Y./Smithtown East) posted a 13-5-2 mark with a 0.93 GAA and a .778 save percentage.
Springfield and MIT will also represent the NEWMAC in the NCAA Tournament. Fresh off a win in the conference championship match, the Engineers play Skidmore in the opening round while the Pride take on Cabrini.