The William Smith soccer team will begin the 2011 season ranked fourth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason poll. The Herons return 10 starters from last year’s squad that advanced all the way to the NCAA Tournament semifinals.
In 2010, William Smith posted an 18-3-3 overall record. The Herons captured the Liberty League regular season and tournament titles for the fourth straight year. William Smith made its 20th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the national semifinals for the seventh time in program history. The 2010 Herons became the sixth William Smith soccer team to record a program-high 18 wins.
William Smith graduated four seniors, Colleen Richards, Emmy Potter, Claire Hotaling and BreLynn Nasypany, from last year’s roster. This year, Head Coach Aliceann Wilber, the 2010 Liberty League Coach of the Year, welcomes back 19 veterans, including 10 seniors. The Herons will also add six first-years to the squad.
Senior Amanda Davis, a three-year all-region and All-Liberty League selection, will return as the starting goalie. She finished last season with a 0.72 goals against average and an .827 save percentage. Davis ranked first in the Liberty League with eight shutouts, third in saves with 82, and third in goals against average. Her 17 wins tied the William Smith record for most wins in a season. Sophomore Chelsea Dunay will also return. She saw time in four games last year and recorded one win.
The Heron defensive unit will look to seniors, Jessie Tarantino, Sarah Tarantino and Alyse DiCenzo for leadership. The trio guided a defense that registered 12 shutouts and sported a 0.69 goals against average last fall. A Liberty League first team selection and the Liberty League tournament MVP, Jessie Tarantino started all 22 games that she played in last season, tallying two goals and an assist. Her twin sister, Sarah, started all 15 games that she played in, and DiCenzo started 21.
Junior Kelsey Hill will return as another integral part of the Heron defense. She played in all but one game last fall, and was named to the 2010 Liberty League All-Tournament team. Hill finished the season with two assists. The first came in an NCAA Tournament second round win over Scranton and the second in a NCAA Tournament third round win over Oneonta. Sophomores Olivia Zitoli and Danielle Moreau will bring depth to the defense. Zitoli played in 21 games as a first-year, and started 17. Moreau saw time in 15 contests. Sophomore Kim Knefel and junior Claire Critini will also be fighting for playing time on defense. Knefel came up from the junior varsity squad last fall and appeared in two games late in the season. Critini spent last year playing on the junior varsity team.
At midfield, seniors Jamie Sawyer, Leah Shatkin, Leslie Carrese and Chelsea England will be impact players. Shatkin played in all 24 games last fall, starting 10. Sawyer earned All-Liberty League second team honors and was selected to the NSCAA All-East Region third team. She played in all but one game last season, starting 14. Sawyer recorded four goals and one assist. Carrese saw time in 23 games, starting 13 in 2010. England started every game last fall, and earned All-Liberty League honorable mention. She tied for third on the team with five goals and added two assists.
Also returning at midfield are juniors Emily Harris and Rachel Geruso. Harris played in 22 games and started twice. She logged two goals and one assist, including a goal in a 3-1 win over Keuka in a first round NCAA Tournament game. Geruso competed in two games last fall. First-years MaryClaire Pelletier and Dineo Mmutla will also look to make an impact in their first season.
On the offensive end, senior Kate Redmond will provide leadership up front. She played in 23 games, starting 22, and logged two goals and one assist. In 2010, Redmond received all-region and All-Liberty League honors. Juniors Whitney Frary, Renee Jensen and Morgan Gibeault will also be key contributors up front. They were key components of a Heron offense that ranked first in the conference in goals with 48 and second with 46 assists last year. Frary is the top returning scorer from 2010. She ranked second on the team with eight goals and posted four assists. Frary earned all-region first team as well as All-Liberty League first team honors. Jensen played in 21 games and was second on the team in assists with five. She tied for third with five goals, including two game-winners. Gibeault played in 22 games, and registered four goals and one helper. She netted the game-winner in a 3-1 win over then No. 7 Williams.
The Herons also welcome five newcomers at the forward spot. First-years Madeline Gardner, Madeline Buckley, Krista Longo and Brenna Kincaid will be vying for playing time, and senior Alexandra Frankel, who spent last year playing junior varsity, will also be looking to make an impact this fall.
William Smith will begin the 2011 season on Sept. 1 with a trip to Dallas, Pa., to take on Misericordia at 5 p.m. The Herons will play their home opener on Sept. 10, when they host No. 2 Messiah for the first game of the 2011 Heron Cup. On Sept. 24, William Smith will start off Liberty League play when Clarkson comes to Cozzens Field for a match at 2 p.m.