The William Smith College soccer team will begin the 2019 season ranked fifth in the United Soccer Coaches Poll which was released on Tuesday, Aug. 6. It’s the 12th consecutive season that the Herons have been ranked in the coaches association preseason poll.
William Smith is coming off a 17-3-1 season that saw them lead the Liberty League in goals scored with 40 and goals allowed with just nine. The Herons ranked 13th in the nation in goals against average (0.420).
William Smith secured the Liberty League regular season championship with an 8-1-0 record, outscoring their opponents 17-2. In the Liberty League Tournament, William Smith posted a 3-0 win over St. Lawrence in the semifinals and topped Rochester Institute of Technology 1-0 in the championship. It was the program’s 12th consecutive and 16th overall league title.
In the NCAA tournament, the Herons reached the quarterfinals. William Smith knocked off Westfield State 4-1, Tufts 1-0 and Amherst 2-1. In the quarterfinals, the Herons and Williams tied 1-1. The Ephs, who went on to win the national championship, advanced on penalty kicks 2-1.
The Herons welcome back 16 players with experience in the starting lineup, including D3soccer.com All-American defender Emilie Sauvayre. On the offensive side of the ball, William Smith returns three of its top five scorers from last season.
William Smith Head Coach Aliceann Wilber begins her 40th season in charge of the program with a Division III women’s soccer record 572 wins. The six-time National Coach of the Year will be looking to lead the Herons to their third national championship (1988, 2013).
The road to a third title will not be easy. William Smith’s early season schedule features four teams ranked or receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll in its first seven matches. The Herons open the campaign on the road at No. 10 Hardin-Simmons on Aug. 30, open their home slate against No. 7 Messiah on Sept. 7, travel to Geneseo, which is receiving votes, on Sept. 14, host No. 6 Misericordia Sept. 18, and open Liberty League play against RIT, which is receiving votes on Sept. 25.