Navy Tabbed Preseason Favorite In Patriot League Women's Soccer Poll

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Navy senior defender Shelly Moeller
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Navy senior defender Shelly Moeller
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Aug. 19, 2009

 

Center Valley, Pa. - The United States Naval Academy was chosen to win the 2009 Patriot League Women's Soccer Championship in a vote by head coaches and sports information directors. The Mids received six first-place votes and 90 overall points, marking the third straight season Navy has been selected as the preseason favorite. Coaches and sports information directors could not vote for their own teams.

Colgate, which garnered a League-best seven first-place votes, follows closely behind Navy, with 83 points. Bucknell received three first-place votes and was selected to take third place with 76 points. Defending Patriot League Tournament champion Army was picked fourth with 61 points, followed by American (50), Lehigh (39), Holy Cross (35) and Lafayette (14).

Coaches and sports information directors also voted for Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year for the second consecutive season. Bucknell's Christa Matlack was selected as the Preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, while Navy's Shelly Moeller received the nod for Preseason Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Last season, Navy won 15 games and finished the Patriot League regular season without a loss. Navy hosted the Patriot League Tournament and advanced to the title game before falling to rival Army. Navy, which shut out 13 of its opponents, must replace starting goalkeeper Lizzie Barnes, who recorded eight shutouts a year ago. Filling the void will be senior Beth Reed. As a junior, Reed appeared in nine contests, going 4-0 with a 0.47 goals-against-average.

Colgate claimed four of its seven wins in Patriot League play a season ago. The Raiders finished fourth in the Patriot League, falling to top-seeded Navy in the Patriot League semifinals. Colgate returns 22 letter-winners, including nine starters, from last year’s squad. The Raiders return their top three scorers from a year ago, as well as sophomore goalkeeper Rebecca Michlin, who played every minute in goal for Colgate as a freshman last season.

Bucknell closed 2008 with an 11-6-1 overall record and a 5-2-0 mark in Patriot League play. The Bison were eliminated from the Patriot League Tournament in the semifinals by eventual champion Army. Bucknell had four team members named to the All-Patriot League First Team last season, two of which return for the 2009 campaign. In addition to Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Christa Matlack, the Bison will regain the services of junior defender Caitlin Holtz, who produced a team-high eight assists.

First-year head coach Stephanie Golan inherits an Army squad that reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history last season. Golan became the second coach in the history of the program after taking over for the retired Gene Ventriglia, who spent 23 seasons with the Black Knights, including last year’s run to the Patriot League title. The Black Knights upset Bucknell and Navy to win the Patriot League Tournament before falling to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament first round. Aiding Golan’s first season will be the return of sophomore forward Dymon Washington. As a freshman, Washington led the Black Knights with 17 points (seven goals, three assists).

Under the direction of second-year head coach David Bucciero, American will seek to improve upon its 5-10-2 record from a year ago. The Eagles finished the 2009 campaign with a 2-2-3 mark in the Patriot League, leaving American one spot short of the fourth and final Patriot League Tournament berth. Leading the Eagles’ attack will be senior forward Kelsey Brasher, who led American with 15 points (six goals, three assists) as a junior.

Lehigh returns nine starters from last year’s team that finished 7-7-4 overall and 2-3-2 in Patriot League play. Back in goal for head coach Manny Oudin is junior goalkeeper Lauren Mains, who notched five shutouts last season. Natalie Hojnacki and Ali MacLeod return to the squad after each produced a team-best two goals last season.

Holy Cross head coach Darren Gallagher will have nine returning starters and 20 returning letter-winners with which to work in his first season in Worcester. Katherine Donnelly, who led the team with eight goals and 19 points as a freshman, returns for her sophomore season with the Crusaders.

Lafayette will open the 2009 season in search of its first Patriot League victory since Oct. 27, 2006. The Leopards will have the services have 18 returning letter-winners, as well as eight newcomers. Among Lafayette’s returning contributors is Mackenzie Moore, who led the team in goals, assists and points as a sophomore last season.

Matlack becomes the second consecutive Bucknell player to be named Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, joining Jennifer Dervarics, who was last year's recipient. Matlack was a First-Team All-Patriot League selection last season. As a sophomore, she tallied eight goals and four assists.

A two-time All-Patriot League selection, Moeller has been named Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season. She was named the 2008 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year as a junior after anchoring a Navy back line that led the Mids to the top Patriot League regular season record.

The Patriot League season will get underway Friday, as both Army and Navy will be in action. The Black Knights will host Maryland, while Navy will travel to USC Upstate.

2009 Patriot League Women's Soccer Preseason Poll

Rank

Team

Points (First-Place Votes)

2008 Overall Record

2008 League Record

1.

Navy

90 (6)

15-4-3

5-0-2

2.

Colgate

83 (7)

7-11-1

4-3-0

3.

Bucknell

76 (3)

11-6-3

5-2-0

4.

Army

61

12-6-3

4-1-2

5.

American

50

5-10-4

2-2-3

6.

Lehigh

39

7-7-4

2-3-2

7.

Holy Cross

35

4-14-1

2-4-1

8.

Lafayette

14

2-14-2

0-7-0

2009 Patriot League Women's Soccer Preseason Awards

Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Christa Matlack, Bucknell
Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Shelly Moeller, Navy