01 Dec

D3 WSOC NCAA tournament semi final preview

Women’s Semifinal 2 Preview

Other Previews:  Women’s Semifinal 1 Men’s Semifinal 1Semifinal 2

By BJ Pheasant

NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer – National Semifinal 2

Friday, December 1 — 1:30 pm ET

No. 5 Hardin-Simmons (23-0-0)

vs.

No. 6 Williams (20-1-1)

How they reached the Final Four

Berth 1st / 2nd Rounds Sectional
Hardin-Simmons ASC AQ W3-1 Methodist (H)
W3-2 #8 Trinity (Texas) (H)
W1-0 #9 Carnege Mellon (N)
W1-0 #14 Ohio Northern (N)
Williams NESCAC AQ W2-0 Lesley (H)
W3-0 Brandeis (H)
W4-0 Cal Lutheran
W3-0 #12 Johns Hopkins (H)

2017 Statistical Overview

Record (Pct.) GSA : GAA (Diff.) Avg. OWP SoS vs. Top 25 Last Ten
Hardin-Simmons 23-0-0 (1.000) 4.78 : 0.30 (+4.48) .618 .605 3-0-0 10-0-0
Williams 20-1-1 (.932) 2.46 : 0.36 (+2.10) .662 .657 3-0-0 9-1-0

Hardin-Simmons Season Review

Hardin-Simmons is the No. 5 ranked team in the nation entering the tournament as the AQ from the American Southwest Conference. With a roster featuring the last three ASC Offensive Players of the Year and a two-time ASC Defensive POY, HSU strolled through the American Southwest Conference for its 15th-straight conference title.

The Cowgirls are very good defensively, allowing just four regular season goals, but the offensive numbers pop off the stat sheet with a nation-leading 110 goals on the season that equates to 5.14 goals per game, the top mark remaining in the NCAA tournament. They’ve scored at least six goals in nine of 21 games and have only been held to one goal on two occasions early in the season and twice now in the tournament. Junior Kenne Kessler (2017 ASC Offensive POY, 2016 ASC Midfield POY) led the country in scoring with 37 goals and 9 assists. Serving the ball up is junior Josey Meyer who leads the nation with 24 assists. Senior defender Kristen Parrish (two-time ASC Defender of the Year) is second on the team in goals with 14 to go along with 9 assists. Senior Kami Jones (two-time ASC Offensive Player of the Year) led the team in goals in previous seasons, but injury cost her the middle third of the season and limited her production and is lurking in the wings to pick up any slack. Goalkeeper Caitlin Christianson has started all 21 games, leading the way to 15 shutouts with her 0.33 GAA (8th nationally). Tiffany Van Hoose is a three-time 2nd team All-ASC defender who patrols in front of the goal along with Parrish.

Both the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games were late one goal decisions in favor of the Cowgirls who relied on their defense as, perhaps, the weakest strength of schedule (76th) of the final four teams may have affected their offense that was used to running over opponents. It should be noted that teams in the west (including Texas) have a dearth of regional opponent choices without incurring significant travel costs, both dollars and time. Against Carnegie Melon the Cowgirls were outshot 17-6 including Tartan shots off the goal post. They managed a corner kick goal in the 77th minute to survive and advance. In the Elite 8 the overall shot total went to Ohio Northern 6-5, but Hardin-Simmons rallied to win the second half with a 4-0 shot advantage and scored their lone goal in the 63rd minute following up a rebound and advancing to the Final Four attempting to win their second national title (first in 2010).

Williams Season Review

The No. 6 ranked Ephs are the automatic qualifier (AQ) from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which has five entrants into the national tournament. The Ephs have been on a tear over the last five seasons with five straight Sweet 16’s or better (only one other school, Messiah, matches that streak). Williams was national runner-up in 2014, national champion in 2015 and have an experienced squad.

In the 2017 the Ephs were 8 minutes away from an undefeated regular season while playing six tournament participants. They are led by senior defender Danielle Sim, the NESCAC Player of the Year—the first defender to earn that honor. Combining with Sim in the back to only allow 7 goals on the season is junior goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill with a 0.41 GAA (#11 in Div. III) and .851 Save Pct. Offensively they are led by sophomore forward Alison Lu with her 10 goals, 5 assists and 4 GWG and senior forward Natasha Albaneze with 6 goals, 10 assists and 4 GWG. They are backed up by senior midfielder and All-NESCAC First Teamer Evan Gancedo (4g, 1a).

During second weekend play both games followed a similar blueprint. Against Cal Lutheran in the Sweet 16 the Ephs scored a goal early in the first half and then added three early in the second for a 4-0 win. In the Elite 8 against Johns Hopkins the Ephs again scored an early 1st half goal and then two early in the second half to win 3-0 and move on to the Final Four attempting to win their second national championship (first 2015).

Head Coaches

Hardin-Simmons: Marcus Wood, 18th year (2000-2017), 330-34-26 (.879)

NCAA’s (16 of 18 yrs.): 22-12-9 (.616) | 2nd Final Four | Champion (’10), Elite 8 (’06)

Coach Wood took over the Cowgirls in 2000 and has made the tournament all but two years during his tenure. In 2017 HSU’s coaches were named Regional Coaching Staff of the Year for the 6th time in 18 years. He is 3rd among active coaches with .871 winning percentage. He has led the Cowgirls to the Final Four for the second time with the first time resulting in a national championship in 2010. The past two years they have been in the Sweet 16 and HSU is 23-0 and riding a 45-game unbeaten streak.

Williams: Michelyne Pinard, 16th year (2002-2017), 237-45-30 (.808)

NCAA’s (14 of 16 yrs.): 28-15-5 (.635) | 4th Final Four | Champ. (’15), Runner-up (’14), Final Four (’08), Elite 8 (’10,’11,’16)

In 2002, Coach Pinard took over a team that had made the NCAA tournament in seven of the first nine years of eligibility. Continuing that success initially eluded Pinard as she only qualified for one tournament in her first five seasons, making a run as the #6 seed in the 2004 NESCAC tournament to claim the automatic berth. But starting in 2007, Pinard’s squads have not only made the tournament every year, but have advanced to the Sweet 16 or beyond in all but one season. Williams was national runner-up in 2014 and national champion in 2015.

Seniors’ 4-year Record (through Nov. 19)

Overall (Pct.) NCAA Appearances Record Advancement
Hardin-Simmons 78-6-4 (.909) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 5-1-3 Sweet 16: ’15, ’16; Final Four: ’17
Williams 80-4-7 (.918) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 15-1-2 Elite 8: ’16; Final Four: ’14, ’17; Champion: ’15

Players to Watch

Hardin-Simmons: #28 F Kenne Kessler (Jr.) 37g (1st nationally), 9a, 6GWG (ASC Off. POY, 2016 ASC MidOY, 3x ASC 1st team) | #13 M Josey Meyer (Jr.) 1g, 24a (1st nationally) (ASC 1st team) | #16 D Kristen Parrish (Sr.) 14g, 9a, 3GWG (2x ASC Def. POY, 3x ASC 1st team, 2016 D3soccer.com 2nd Team All-American) | #15 M Kami Jones (Sr.) 5g, 8a, 2GWG (2x ASC Off. POY, 2x ASC 1st team, 2016 NSCAA 1st Team All-American, 2016 D3soccer.com 2nd Team All-American) | #34 GK Caitlin Christiansen (Jr.) 0.33 GAA (5th nationally) .867 SvPct (2x ASC 2nd team)

Williams: Williams: #21 D Danielle Sim (Sr.) (NESCAC POY, 2x NESCAC 1st Team) | #10 M Evan Gancedo (Sr.) 4g, 1a (NESCAC 1st Team) | #16 F Alison Lu (So.) 11g, 5a, 4GWG (NESCAC 2nd Team) | #26 F Natasha Albaneze (Sr.) 9g, 10a, 4GWG (2x NESCAC 2nd Team) | #1 GK Olivia Barnhill (Jr.) 0.37 GAA, .877 SvPct (NESCAC 2nd Team)

Tournament Re-Matches

Surprisingly, with all the tournament success this will be the first ever meeting between the Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls and the Williams Ephs.

Analysis

Hardin-Simmons looks stronger statistically, especially offensively, but their strength of schedule at 76th may be a factor. As for the Ephs, they have compiled impressive statistics on defense. They are a proven group battle-tested by markedly stronger competition than HSU as measured by strength of schedule.

Both teams have stingy back lines having allowed only 5.5 shots per game and 7 goals and 7.5 shots per game and 8 goals, respectively, for Hardin Simmons and Williams. Both defenses will be tested in this semifinal contest and will find it difficult to keep the offensive talent on each side at bay for 90 minutes. HSU has 110 goals on the season (with assists on 97 of them) while the Ephs have just 55 goals. However, in the tournament Williams has 12 goals and the Cowgirls 8. Both teams have experienced players all over the field.

The Cowgirls are ranked fifth in the country. They have an undefeated regular season only allowing four goals while only being held to one goal scored on two occasions early in the season and twice in the tournament. With a stout defense and an overwhelming offense led by the potent combination of the country’s assist leader (Josey Meyer, 24) and goal-scoring leader (Kenne Kessler, 37), not to mention having previous leading scorer Kami Jones back in the line-up. Caitlin Christiansen for Hardin-Simmons is #1 ranked with a GAA 0f 0.22.

Hardin-Simmons led by Coach Wood has an impressive history appearing in the tournament 16 of the past 18 years. They have 9 Sweet 16s. After last weekend they have an all-time tournament mark of 24-12-9 highlighted by 2010’s national championship.

The Ephs are the sixth-ranked team in the nation and have significant more recent tournament success. The Ephs have five straight Sweet 16’s or better (only one other school matches that streak) including being national runner-up in 2014 and champions in 2015. They were 8 minutes away from an undefeated 2017 regular season and have rolled through the tournament thus far.

Williams also has an impressive history including 19 all-time appearances and eleven consecutive trips to the tournament. They have 9 Sweet 16s. After last weekend they have an all-time tournament mark of 33-16-6 highlighted by 2015’s national championship.

Both teams seem to have similar past success and experienced coaches. The game is on the east coast. It is an established disadvantage to travel east over multiple time zones (and much less of an issue to travel west over multiple time zones). With a tight game little things matter. The Ephs have been better in the tournament (yes, at home). I give a slight advantage to the Ephs over the Cowgirls at an east coast tournament site, but both teams are determined and it is a real possibility the game could go to penalty kicks.

18 Nov

D3 WSOC NCAA Tournament sectional preview – American

Women’s Sectional Previews: American

Other Sectional Previews:  MIDWESTATLANTICNORTHEAST

By BJ Pheasant

AMERICAN SECTIONAL
William Smith (Geneva, NY) Sectional Webpage Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 18-19

Third Round – Saturday

Ohio Northern (19-1-2) at William Smith (19-1-0), 11:00 am ET

Hardin-Simmons (21-0-0) vs. Carnegie Mellon (15-2-2), 1:30 pm ET

Quarterfinals – Sunday

Sectional Final, 1:00 pm ET

How they reached the Sweet 16

Berth 1st Round 2nd Round
William Smith Liberty AQ W5-0 Lasell College (H) W2-0 Swarthmore (H)
Ohio Northern OAC AQ W2-0 PSU-Behrend (H) W2-0 Illinois Wesleyan (H)
Carnegie Mellon Pool C at-large W1-0 Farmingdale St.(H) W1-0 (ot) Arcadia (H)
Hardin-Simmons ASC AQ W3-1 Methodist (H) W3-2 Trinity (Texas) (H)

2017 Statistical Overview

Record (Pct.) GSA : GAA (Diff.) Avg. OWP SoS vs. Top 25 Last Ten
William Smith 19-1-0 (.950) 2.65 : 0.25 (+2.40) .615 .634 2-1-0 10-0-0
Ohio Northern 19-1-2 (.909) 2.67 : 0.49 (+2.18) .566 .585 1-0-1 9-0-1
Carnegie Mellon 15-2-2 (.842) 2.20 : 0.41 (+1.79) .678 .667 2-2-1 8-1-1
Hardin-Simmons 21-0-0 (1.000) 5.14 : 0.33 (+4.81) .556 .583 1-0-0 10-0-0

William Smith Season Review

The Herons are D3soccer.com’s No. 2 ranked team entering the tournament, the automatic qualifier (AQ) from the Liberty League and are the league’s regular season champions for the eleventh straight year. This year’s seniors have not lost a conference match with a four-year conference record of 32-0. Entering the 2017 tournament, William Smith is coming off of consecutive Elite 8 appearances and are looking to add to their 1988 and 2013 titles. They were also runners-up in 1987 and 1997.

In the 2017 regular season they had five contests against teams in the NCAA field,going 4-1 including a 1-0 win over Messiah. Their only loss on the season came to Geneseo State, 1-0, who has also made it to the second weekend. They are on a 15-game winning streak since that point. They also have 15 shutouts on the season, having only allowing five goals thanks to junior goalkeeper Veronica Romines with her 0.22 GAA (4th nationally) and 0.882 save pct. and three all-conference defenders. Offensively the Herons scored 53 goals with senior forward, Liberty League Player of the Year, Evie Manning (13g, 7a, 5 GWG) and junior midfielder Megan Barwick (12g, 7a, 4 GWG) shouldering the load. Overall 18 players were involved in goals or assists.

Ohio Northern Season Review

The Polar Bears had an inauspicious start to the season with a loss in their first game. They have been undefeated since with a 19-1-2 record overall and a clean 9-0 sweep in the Ohio Athletic Conference winning the regular season and tournament titles. They are ranked No. 14 entering the tournament as the automatic qualifier from the OACwhich, along with the MIAA and the Big 10, is one of only three conferences over 100 years old. ONU only played two 2017 NCAA tournament teams during the season.

ONU tied their own team record with 13 shutouts in a season led by senior OAC Defender of the Year, Hannah Reich, and sophomore OAC Goalkeeper of the Year, Meagan Grierson, who posted a 0.41 GAA (10th in the nation) and .850 save pct. Goals were by committee throughout the season with the top scorers being freshman Jena Fuller (OAC Freshman of the Year) with 11 goals and 12 assists, sophomore Rose Nienaber with 10 goals and 6 assists, and senior Anna Niemeyer with 7 goals and 3 assists. In all, fifteen Polar Bears registered a goal or an assist as they scored 60 times during the season. They also swept all but one OAC post-season conference honor for players and coaches.

Carnegie Mellon Season Review

The Tartans, ranked No. 9 entering the tournament, are an at-large selection from the UAA which sent three teams to the Final Four in 2016. CMU’s overall 15-2-2 mark this year featured seven games against teams in the 2017 NCAA field along with 1-2-1 record against last years’s Final Four participants, three being conference rivals and the fourth, Messiah, being a non-conferenceopponent. They also tied fellow sectional member Ohio Northern in non-conference play.

Their 2016 tournament was a bit disappointing by CMU standards with a 3-1 loss to Penn State-Berks in the opening round and they will look to erase that memory by continuing their strong 2017 tournament run. The Tartans have ground out eight 1-0 wins this season and have only scored two goals in a game on three occassions during the month of October, totaling 43 goals for the season. Their leading scorer is senior Haili Adams with 12 goals and 3 assists. Unfortunately, sophomore Ryan Casey, who had led the team with 8 goals and 4 assists through ten games, has not played since being substituted out of their October 7 duel with Brandeis with an injury.. Freshman goalkeeper Carolyn Botz has been key in playing all 19 games this season and earning 1st team All-UAA selection with a 0.43 GAA (15th nationally) and .810 save pct.

Hardin-Simmons Season Review

Hardin-Simmons is the No. 5 ranked team in the nation entering the tournament as the AQ from the American Southwest Conference. With a roster featuring the last three ASC Offensive Players of the Year and a two-time ASC Defensive POY, HSU strolled through the American Southwest Conference for its 15th-straight conference title. The Cowgirls’ biggest win thus far, however, was their most recent: 3-2 over No. 8 Trinity (Texas) to advance to the Sectional Semifinal.

The Cowgirls are very good defensively, allowing just four regular season goals, but the offensive numbers pop off the stat sheet with a nation-leading 108 goals on the season that equates to 5.14 goals per game, the top mark remaining in the NCAA tournament. They’ve scored at least six goals in nine of 21 games and have only been held to one goal on two occasions early in the season. Junior Kenne Kessler (2017 ASC Offensive POY, 2016 ASC Midfield POY) led the country in scoring with 37 goals and 9 assists. Serving the ball up is junior Josey Meyer who leads the nation with 24 assists. Senior defender Kristen Parrish (two-time ASC Defender of the Year) is second on the team in goals with 14to go along with 9 assists. Senior Kami Jones (two-time ASC Offensive Player of the Year) led the team in goals in previous seasons, but injury cost her the middle third of the season and limited her production to 5 goals and 8 assists. She has returned for the post-season with 1 goal and 2 assists in five games and is lurking in the wings to pick up any slack.

Goalkeeper Caitlin Christianson has started all 21 games, leading the way to 15 shutouts with her 0.33 GAA (8th nationally). Tiffany Van Hoose is a three-time 2nd team All-ASC defender who patrols in front of the goal along with Parrish.

Head Coaches

William Smith: Aliceann Wilber, 38th year (1980-2017), 554-131-57 (.785)
NCAA’s (31 of 32 yr.): 51-21-10 (.683) | 22nd Sweet 16 | Champ. (’88,’13), Runner-up (’87,’97), Final Four (’93,’95,’02,’08,’10,’11), Elite 8 (’89,’91,’94,’00,’01,’15,’16)
Ohio Northern: Mark Batman, 14th year (2004-2017), 184-75-26 (.691)
NCAA’s (4 of 9 yrs.): 3-3-1 (.500) | 1st Sweet 16 | —
Carnegie Mellon: Yon Struble, 8th year (2010-2017), 99-33-12 (.729)
NCAA’s (6 of 8 yrs.): 8-2-2 (.750) | 4th Sweet 16 | Elite 8 (’12)
Hardin-Simmons: Marcus Wood, 18th year (2000-2017), 328-34-26 (.879)
NCAA’s (16 of 18 yrs.): 22-12-9 (.616) | 9th Sweet 16 | Champ. (’10), Elite 8 (’06)

Seniors’ 4-year Record (through Nov. 13)

Overall (Pct.) NCAA Appearances Record Advancement
William Smith 75-6-3 (.911) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 9-2-2 Sweet 16: ’17; Elite 8: ’15, ’16
Ohio Northern 56-19-6 (.728) ’17 2-0-0 Sweet 16: ’17
Carnegie Mellon 59-12-5 (.809) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 6-2-1 Sweet 16: ’14, ’15, ’17
Hardin-Simmons 76-6-4 (.907) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 5-1-3 Sweet 16: ’15, ’16, ’17

Tournament Experience

William Smith has consecutive Elite 8 appearances and are looking for the next step while Ohio Northern returns after a six-year absence. Carnegie Melon’s six all-time appearances have been consecutive, starting in 2012. In 2016 they were knocked out in the first round. Hardin-Simmons has been knocked out in shootouts twice in the past three years and are looking for their first title since 2010.

Players to Watch

William Smith: #10 F Evie Manning (Sr.) 13g, 7a, 5GWG (2017 LL POY, 3x LL 1st Team) | #3 M Megan Barwick (Jr.) 12g, 7a, 4GWG (LL 1st Team) | #20 D Elizabeth Moore (So.) 6g (LL 1st Team) | #30 GK Veronica Romines (Jr.) 0.22 GAA (4th nationally) 0.882 SvPct

Ohio Northern: #2 M Haley Moses (So.) 4g, 4a (OAC MidOY, 2x OAC 1st Team) | #9 D Hannah Reich (Sr.) (OAC DefOY, 4x OAC 1st Team | #33 F Jenna Fuller (Fr.) 11g, 12a (OAC ROY) | #22 F Rose Nienaber (So.) 10g, 6a (OAC 1st team) | #0 GK Meagan Grierson (So.) 0.41 GAA (10th nationally) .850 SvPct (OAC GKOY& 1st Team)

Carnegie Mellon: #7 F Haili Adams (Sr.) 12g, 3a (3x UAA 1st Team, 2x NSCAA All-Great Lakes) | #4 M Tori Iatarola (Sr.) 2g, 4a (4x UAA 1st Team , 2014 NSCAA 2nd Team All-Great Lakes) | #14 D Katie Strycharz (Sr.) 2g, 5a (3x UAA 2nd Team) | #1 GK Carolyn Botz (Fr.) 0.43 GAA (15th nationally) .810 SvPct (UAA 1st Team)

Hardin-Simmons: #28 F Kenne Kessler (Jr.) 37g (1st nationally), 9a, 6GWG (ASC Off. POY, 2016 ASC MidOY, 3x ASC 1st team) | #13 M Josey Meyer (Jr.) 1g, 24a (1st nationally) (ASC 1st team) | #16 D Kristen Parrish (Sr.) 14g, 9a, 3GWG (2x ASC Def. POY, 3x ASC 1st team, 2016 D3soccer.com 2nd Team All-American) | #15 M Kami Jones (Sr.) 5g, 8a, 2GWG (2x ASC Off. POY, 2x ASC 1st team, 2016 NSCAA 1st Team All-American, 2016 D3soccer.com 2nd Team All-American) | #34 GK Caitlin Christiansen (Jr.) 0.37 GAA (8th nationally) .846 SvPct (2x ASC 2nd team)

Tournament Re-Matches

The Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls are meeting new opponents in the sectional as they have not played any of the other three teams in the past ten years. In 2014 Carnegie Mellon Tartans beat William Smith 2-1 in a regular season match up. The history in the sectional is between Ohio Northern and Carnegie Mellon as they drew 0-0 in an early non-conference match up this year to continue a streak of ties between the two: a 0-0 result in 2015 and a 1-all score line in 2013. Additionally, the last time Ohio Northern made the NCAA tournament Carnegie Melon knocked them out in the round of 32, 1-0, in 2012.

Why they will advance to the Final Four

William Smith: The Herons are the second-ranked team in the country entering the tournament having only allowed four goals on the season and their only loss came to another Sweet 16 participant. Their convincing regular season schedule, NCAA tournament experience and hosting duties in the second weekend are major pluses. Their first opponent is a tournament neophyte traveling on the road. The second game is another well-rested home game as they get the tired survivor of two heavyweights slugging it out the previous day, which leads to the Herons advancing to the Final Four.

Ohio Northern: The Polar Bears are excited to return to the tournament for the first time since 2012. They are on a long run of success having lost their first game of the season on the road and won every game since. In a powerful sectional with the No. 2, 5, and 9 ranked teams in the nation, this 14th-ranked ONU team is overlooked even though they tied No. 9 Carnegie Mellon during the season. A balanced attack on offense means difficulty in planning who to stop. The Polar Bears sneak past a too comfortable host in the first game and a tired opponent in the second game to reach the Final Four.

Carnegie Mellon: It will be chilly weather, which favors the Pittsburgh team and Hardin-Simmons “pulled off a dramatic rally to beat arch-rival Trinity 3-2 in the second round” leading to an emotional letdown. The Tartans UAA experience means they played all four of last year’s Final Four participants, going 1-2-1. They know what it takes to grind with top teams, having eight 1-0 wins on the season, and their close-game experience sees them into the Final Four.

Hardin-Simmons: The Cowgirls continue their dominant form and feel disrespected for only being ranked fifth in the country. They have an undefeated regular season only allowing four goals while only being held to one goal scored on two occasions early in the season. With a stout defense and an overwhelming offenseled by the potent combination of the country’s assist leader (Josey Meyer, 22) and goal-scoring leader (Kenne Kessler, 35)—not to mention having previous leading scorer Kami Jones back in the line-up—HSU roll to the Final Four looking to add a second national trophy to their case and prove the doubters wrong.

Other Sectional Previews:  MIDWESTATLANTICNORTHEAST
18 Nov

D3 WSOC NCAA Tournament sectional preview – Northeast

Women’s Sectional Previews: Northeast

Other Sectional Previews:  MIDWESTATLANTICAMERICAN

By BJ Pheasant

NORTHEAST SECTIONAL
Williams (Williamstown, MA) Sectional Webpage Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 18-19

Third Round – Saturday

Cal Lutheran (16-3-3) at Williams (18-1-1), 11:00 am ET

Geneseo State (18-1-2) vs. Johns Hopkins (17-2-3), 1:30 pm ET

Quarterfinals – Sunday

Sectional Final, 1:00 am ET

How they reached the Sweet 16

Berth 1st Round 2nd Round
Williams NESCAC AQ W2-0 Lesley (H) W3-0 Brandeis (H)
Cal Lutheran Pool C at-large W2-0 UC Santa Cruz (N) T0-0 Pacific Lutheran (2ot) (A)
Johns Hopkins Pool C at-large W4-1 Staten Island (H) W2-0 Wilkes (H)
Geneseo State SUNYAC AQ W2-1 Penn State-Berks (ot) (H) W1-0 Misericordia (2ot) (H)

2017 Statistical Overview

Record (Pct.) GSA : GAA (Diff.) Avg. OWP SoS vs. Top 25 Last Ten
Williams 18-1-1 (.925) 2.37 : 0.39 (+1.98) .642 .643 2-0-0 9-1-0
Cal Lutheran 16-3-3 (.795) 1.93 : 0.83 (+1.10) .559 .571 0-1-0 7-1-2
Johns Hopkins 17-2-3 (.841) 2.64 : 0.53 (+2.11) .631 .618 2-1-2 8-0-2
Geneseo State 18-1-2 (.905) 2.34 : 0.46 (+1.88) .588 .585 1-0-0 8-1-1

Williams Season Review

The No. 6 ranked Ephs are the automatic qualifier (AQ) from the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), which has five entrants into the national tournament. The Ephs have been on a tear over the last five seasons with five straight Sweet 16’s or better (only one other school, Messiah, matches that streak). Williams was national runner-up in 2014, national champion in 2015 and have an experienced squad.

In the 2017 the Ephs were 8 minutes away from an undefeated regular season while playing six tournament participants. They are led by senior defender Danielle Sim, the NESCAC Player of the Year—the first defender to do so. Combining with Sim in the back to only allow 7 goals on the season is junior goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill with a 0.41 GAA (#11 in Div. III) and .851 Save Pct. Offensively they are led by sophomore forward Alison Lu with her 10 goals, 5 assists and 4 GWG) and senior forward Natasha Albaneze with 6 goals, 10 assists and 4 GWG. They are backed up by senior midfielder and All-NESCAC First Teamer Evan Gancedo (4g, 1a).

Cal Lutheran Season Review

The Regals are unranked nationally entering the tournament, but were No. 2 in the NCAA West Regional Rankings. They are an at-large selection from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). The season started with three out-of-region tournament participants including a weekend trip to the east coast, and a game against No. 4 Christopher Newport, mirroring their current tournament trip. Their 16-3-3 record included a regular season title, but a stumble in the conference tournament final led to their at-large selection.

Spearheading the offense is senior forward Kali Youngdahl (13g, 7a, 7 GWG) who was the SCIAC Athlete of the Year and is a four-time First Team All-SCIAC player. Contributing to the 44 goals the Regals scored was freshman Sam Cornejo (7g) and freshman defender Trinity Martinez (3g, 6a), the SCIAC Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-SCIAC selection. In the midfield, sophomore Maddy Griess (2g, 3a) was dangerous with several assists off of long throw-ins into the box. In addition to Martinez on defense senior Olivia Leyva has three All-SCIAC awards in her career. The goalkeeping was by committee with freshman goalkeeper Gabby Flores playing about half the minutes.

Johns Hopkins Season Review

The Blue Jays are the No. 12 ranked team entering the tournament, an at-large entrant from the Centennial Conference after an undefeated conference regular season, but a shootout loss in the conference tournament final. They have two losses on the year while playing five NCAA tournament participants during the season. They return an experienced squad that has Final Four experience from their freshman year and a Sweet 16 run last year.

Offensively, senior forward Michelle Santangelo leads the team with 18 goals and 4 assists. Freshman Riley O’Toole is the Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year and 1st Team All-Centennial with 13 goals, 2 assists, and 6 game-winners (tied for 15th nationally). Missing from the line-up for the last half of the season is 2015 3rd Team All-Mid-Atlantic Region junior forward Kristen Hori. On defense, junior Kyla Persky was a 2nd Team All-Centennial performer while senior goalkeeper Bess Kitzmiller only allowed 11 goals on the season in posting a 0.72 GAA and a .784 Save Pct.

Geneseo State Season Review

The Knights are ranked thirteenth entering the tournament and are the AQ from the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC). They were half a game away from being undefeated on the season and played two tournament teams during their non-conference schedule.

Offensively, senior forward Audrey Reid had impressive stats—19 goals (tied-4th in Div. III), 8 assists, 5 GWG—and was 1st Team All-SUNYAC and SUNYAC Tournament MVP. Sophomore forward Domenica Piccoli had 8 goals, 5 assists and 5 GWG and freshman Ellie Gregory also pitched in with 4 goals and 4 assists earning the SUNYAC Rookie of the Year award. Defensively, senior midfielder Leah Greene had 7 goals and was named SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year. Assisting in allowing only 10 goals on the season were both center backs, junior Rachel Walsh and sophomore Taylor Clar, also named to the All-SUNYAC First Team. Junior goalkeeper Emily Janiszewski had a 0.47 GAA and .885 Save Pct. (16th and 15th in the nation, respectively) and earned All-SUNYAC honors for the third time.

Head Coaches

Williams: Michelyne Pinard, 16th year (2002-2017), 235-45-30 (.806)
NCAA’s (14 of 16 yrs.): 28-15-5 (.635) | 9th Sweet 16 | Champion (’15), Runner-up (’14), Final Four (’08), Elite 8 (’10,’11,’16)
Cal Lutheran: Frank Marino, 9th year (2009-2017), 136-44-17 (.734)
NCAA’s (5 of 9 yrs.): 2-4-1 (.357) | 1st Sweet 16 | —
Johns Hopkins: Leo Weil, 26th year (1992-2017), 374-114-39 (.747)
NCAA’s (16 of 26 years): 24-14-3 (.622) | 9th Sweet 16 | Final Four (’14), Elite 8 (’09,’10,’12’13)
Geneseo State: Nate Wiley, 12th year (2006-2017), 130-66-28 (.643)
NCAA’s (2 of 12 yrs.): 2-1-2 (.600) | 1st Sweet 16 | —

Seniors’ 4-year Record (through Nov. 13)

Overall (Pct.) NCAA Appearances Record Advancement
Williams 78-4-7 (.916) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 15-1-2 Sweet 16: ’17; Elite 8: ’16;
Final Four: ’14; Champion: ’15
Cal Lutheran 50-22-13 (.665) ’17 1-0-1 Sweet 16: ’17
Johns Hopkins 67-14-8 (.798) ’14 ’15 ’16 ’17 7-3-1 Sweet 16: ’16, ’17; Final Four: ’14
Geneseo State 54-12-11 (.773) ’14 ’17 2-1-1 Sweet 16: ’17

Tournament Experience

And then there were two. Williams and Messiah are the only two teams to have advanced to the Sweet 16 for five straight seasons or more (a third team, Thomas More, following an off-season coaching change, had their four-year streak snapped with a first round loss this year). Williams has eleven consecutive trips to the tournament. In 2014 they lost in the championship game in PKs and in 2015 climbed the summit with a national championship.

Cal Lutheran is in the tournament for their thirteenth time. The farthest they have gone is the Sweet 16. Johns Hopkins has advanced to their ninth Sweet 16 having previously been knocked out a game shy of the Final Four in 2012 and 2013 before advancing to the national semifinals in 2014. Geneseo State is making its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and its first since 2014. Geneseo advanced to the Final Four in 1994.

Players to Watch

Williams: #21 D Danielle Sim (Sr.) (NESCAC POY, 2x NESCAC 1st Team) | #10 M Evan Gancedo (Sr.) 4g, 1a (NESCAC 1st Team) | #16 F Alison Lu (So.) 10g, 5a, 4GWG (NESCAC 2nd Team) | #26 F Natasha Albaneze (Sr.) 6g, 10a, 4GWG (2x NESCAC 2nd Team) | #1 GK Olivia Barnhill (Jr.) 0.41 GAA, .851 SvPct (NESCAC 2nd Team)

Cal Lutheran: #20 F Kali Youngdahl (Sr.) 13g, 7a, 7GWG (t-4th nationally) (SCIAC Athlete of the Year, 4x SCIAC 1st Team) | #14 F Sam Cornejo (Fr.) 7g (SCIAC 2nd Team) | #8 D Trinity Martinez (Fr.) 3g, 6a (SCIAC 1st Team) | #24 M Maddy Griess (So.) 2g, 3a (SCIAC 1st Team) | #28 D Olivia Leyva (Sr.) (SCIAC 1st Team, 2x SCIAC 2nd Team)

Johns Hopkins: #10 F Michelle Santangelo (Sr.) 18g, 4a (Centennial 1st Team) | #16 F Riley O’Toole (Fr.) 13g, 2a, 6GWG (t-15th nationally) (Centennial ROY & 1st Team) | #3 F Bailey Monaco (Sr.) 5g, 7a | #0 GK Bess Kitzmiller (Sr.) 0.72 GAA, .784 SvPct (Centennial 1st Team)

Geneseo State: #17 F Audrey Reid (Sr.) 19g (t-21st nationally), 8a, 5GWG (SUNYAC 1st Team) | #14 F Domenica Piccoli (So.) 8g, 5a, 5GWG (SUNYAC 2nd Team) | #11 M Leah Greene (Sr.) 7g (SUNYAC Def. POY) | #5 F Ellie Gregory (Fr.) 4g, 4a (SUNYAC ROY) | #1 GK Emily Janiszewski (Jr.) 0.47 GAA, (16th nationally) .885 SvPct (15th nationally) (SUNYAC 1st Team, 2nd Team, 3rd Team)

Tournament Re-Matches

Cal Lutheran does not have any tournament or regular season history with teams in this sectional during the past ten years. In 2014 Johns Hopkins beat Geneseo State 3-1 in the round of 32. The primary historical conflict in the quad is between Johns Hopkins and Williams. In 2013 Johns Hopkins beat Williams in the Sweet 16, in 2014 Williams beat Johns Hopkins in the Final Four on the way to a runner-up finish, and in 2016 Williams defeated Johns Hopkins in the round of 16, 2-1.

Why they will advance to the Final Four

Williams: The Ephs are the sixth-ranked team in the nation, have significant tournament experience and are hosting, which are key attributes to advancing. The Ephs have five straight Sweet 16’s or better (only one other school matches that streak) including being national runner-up in 2014 and champions in 2015. They were 8 minutes away from an undefeated 2017 regular season, walloped 2016 Final Four participant Brandeis, 3-0, to advance and are looking to continue their predictable march to the Final Four and beyond.

Cal Lutheran: The Regals are the second-ranked team in the West region by the NCAA, but unranked nationally and facing a sectional that features the No. 6, 12, and 13 teams in the D3socceer.com Top 25. They have already traveled to the East coast for a weekend of games this season in preparation for a tournament run including a game against fourth-ranked Christopher Newport. Their preparation pays off as they sneak past the hosts and then are the last team standing after allowing their opposition to slug it out with the victor having shorter rest for Sunday’s game. CLU moves on to the Final Four.

Johns Hopkins: The Blue Jays are ranked twelfth going into the tournament and after an undefeated conference regular season were upset in a shootout in the conference tournament finals. They also have Elite 8 experience in 2012 and 2013 with a Final Four appearance in 2014. The wake-up call inspires their NCAA tournament run where they win on Saturday with the goal of beating recent tournament nemesis, Williams, on Sunday to advance to their second Final Four.

Geneseo State: The Knights are ranked thirteenth entering the tournament and are half a game away from being undefeated on the season. There are players on the squad that remember the 2014 loss to Johns Hopkins and use it as motivation to reverse the result. After reaching the Elite 8 they grind out a result and advance to their first Final Four since 1994.

Other Sectional Previews:  MIDWESTATLANTICAMERICAN
24 Oct

Qatar to lose the WC 2022?

There are rumors swirling that Qatar may lose the hosting of World Cup 2022. With bribery of the voting process now proven and slavery accusations (at the worst) and human rights violations (at the best) being pinned to FIFA WC construction the hubris seems to be catching up to Qatar.

The latest accusations come from Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as they cut off ties from Qatar and blockaded the state, accusing it of supporting terrorism and sowing discord in the region. With middle eastern support also on the wain it may be too much for Qatar to overcome.

Qatar says they are giving up the WC and others are just jealous of them. I am not sure who is jealous of their bribery and human rights record, but, be that as it may, it will take someone with integrity at FIFA to make the call. FIFA, of course, is embroiled in their own issues and are trying to ignore everything else while they get their house in order.

If the WC leaves Qatar where would it go? Australia was the main  Asian area competitor (the WC were being assigned by continent at the time). The USA, Germany, and England are also being mentioned as places with infrastructure that could host the WC on relatively short notice.

30 Jun

Lutheran All American Association presents All American Awards & Team Ethics & Sportsmanship Awards

The Lutheran All American Association presents the following awards for the 2016-17 high school season. Nominations were due via nomination form by May 30, 2017. Information and nomination forms can be found on www.LutheranAllAmerican.org.

The Lutheran High School Girl’s Soccer All-American Award is a unified Lutheran Girl’s Soccer All-American program that brings together the student-athletes from all Lutheran denominations in the USA and Canada (LCMS, WELS, ELCA, and NALC) in an attempt to foster sisterhood forged through the fires of competition. The program promotes physical strength and health as well as an active pursuit of Christian ideals in high school student’s personal lives and education.

This honor will be awarded annually to recognize the best players at their respective positions from their high school season.

All Lutheran high schools in the USA and Canada will be contacted during the girl’s soccer season. At the end of the season Coaches and Athletic Directors will be asked to nominate student athletes with high athletic, academic, and spiritual integrity.

Selections will be made for:

  • A 1st Team All-American roster
  • A 2nd Team All-American roster
  • Freshman All-American roster
  • An Honorable Mention roster

The Lutheran High School Girl’s Soccer Team Ethics & Sportsmanship Award is an honor that will be awarded annually to recognize each team based on activity during their high school season.

All Lutheran high schools in the USA and Canada will be contacted during the girl’s soccer season. At the end of the season Coaches and Athletic Directors will be asked to nominate teams that have shown Ethics & Sportsmanship.

A team may not have received any (0) Red Cards at any time during the season. The “season” includes all regular season and play-off contests.

Gold Award ……………………………0 Yellow Cards, 0 Red Cards

Silver Award…………………………..1-5 Yellow Cards, 0 Red Cards

Bronze Award…………………………6-10 Yellow Cards, 0 Red Cards