The William Smith College soccer team will begin the 2018 season ranked seventh in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches Poll which was released on Tuesday. It’s the 11th consecutive season that the Herons have been ranked in the coaches association preseason poll.
William Smith is coming off a 19-2-0 season that saw them win 16 consecutive matches during one stretch of the season. The Herons led the Liberty League in goals scored with 53 and goals allowed with just six. In fact, William Smith’s defense ranked fourth in the nation in goals against average (0.286).
The Herons secured the Liberty League regular season championship with an unblemished 9-0-0 record, outscoring their league opponents 27-2. In the Liberty League Tournament, William Smith posted a 3-0 win over St. Lawrence in the semifinals and topped Vassar 2-0 in the championship. It was the program’s 11th consecutive and 15th overall league title.
In the NCAA tournament, the Herons reached the third round with shutouts of Lasell 5-0 and Swarthmore 2-0 before falling 1-0 in overtime to Ohio Northern.
William Smith graduated six players off of last year’s roster, including United Soccer Coaches All-American Evie Manning and D3soccer.com All-American Katherine Campbell. The Herons will welcome back 11 players with experience in the starting lineup, including United Soccer Coaches All-American Megan Barwick.
William Smith Head Coach Aliceann Wilber begins her 39th season in charge of the program with a Division III women’s soccer record 555 career wins. The five-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 will include four teams ranked in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll in its first six matches. The Herons open the campaign at home against No. 4 Hardin-Simmons on Aug. 31, travel to No. 5 Messiah on Sept. 8, return home to take on No. 14 Geneseo on Sept. 12 and hit the road again for a match at No. 20 Misericordia on Sept. 19.