Mid-Atlantic Review, Week 1
By D3soccer.com Contributor
Welcome to the Mid-Atlantic Review. This year, in an effort to extend our coverage of the women’s side, D3soccer.com will be providing a weekly synopsis covering the Mid-Atlantic region. This weekly fixture will focus on the results of the week for the top teams in the Mid-Atlantic and their upcoming games. We’ll start the season covering the teams that finished last season ranked in the region and adjust as we go along, adding teams that are making “waves” in the Mid-Atlantic, so to speak. The first week of the regular season is officially in the books after a packed weekend of action. Let’s take a look at some of the early storylines on the women’s side around the region.
The Messiah Falcons return a wealth of talent this season, losing only 2 senior starters from last year’s team that was penalty kicks away from another National Semifinal. The Falcons, who finished the year in our final poll at No. 4, will rely on tough defense (tops in the nation last season with a 0.166 goals against average) and a balanced attack. This week, the Falcons played ungracious hosts to two teams traveling across the country to play them - the Covenant Lady Scots out of Lookout Mountain, GA, and the Whitworth Pirates out of Spokane, WA. The Falcons dominated on the stat sheet, outshooting their guests by a combined 69-5 and leading on corner kicks, 28-2. On Friday night, the Falcons peppered the Scots with 39 shots, 25 of which were on frame. Scots keeper Rachel Lemay recorded an astounding 20 saves, but it wasn’t enough as the Falcons powered to a 4-0 victory. Saturday night, the Falcons duplicated their effort and turned away the Whitworth Pirates, also by a score of 4-0.
This week will prove much tougher for the Falcons, as they play host to two teams who ranked in the 2017 D3soccer.com Top 25 poll. On Tuesday, they’ll welcome No. 9 Johns Hopkins and then turn around on Saturday and host No. 6 William Smith. After this week, we’ll know a lot more about the Falcons, Blue Jays, and Herons and how they’ll shape up against the top teams in the nation.
Johns Hopkins (2-0-0)
Johns Hopkins finished the season ranked in the No. 9 spot in our final poll. The Blue Jays fell to eventual National Champion Williams in the NCAA Sectional Final, making it three out of the last four years that the Ephs have ended the Jays’ season. Hopkins began the season by traveling to Pittsburgh for Carnegie Mellon’s Tartan Cup. On Friday night, the Jays blasted the Washington & Lee Generals with four second half goals en route to a dominant 5-1 win. On Saturday, the Blue Jays continued their impressive start by pounding the Shenandoah Hornets, 7-0, putting 15 of 23 shots on frame. The Jays’ twelve goals in the first two games of the season is a team record, surpassing the previous record of ten set in 2006.
The Blue Jays will face a much stiffer test this week, traveling to nationally ranked Messiah midweek, only to then turn around and travel to Newport News, VA, for the Captains Classic tournament hosted by South Atlantic Region powerhouse Christopher Newport. This tournament features the Captains, who finished 2017 at No. 12, and the Virginia Wesleyan Marlins, who received votes in our final poll, but finished just outside the Top 25. If the Blue Jays can successfully navigate this “week from you-know-where”, they will solidify themselves as one of the top teams in the nation.
Swarthmore finished 2017 at No. 22 in the D3soccer.com final poll. The Garnet graduated a talented group of seniors, but return a strong core group. Swarthmore comes into 2018 as the Centennial Conference defending champions and look to capture their third conference championship in five years. The Garnet began 2018 by hosting Pfeiffer on Friday afternoon at Clothier Field Stadium. The Garnet controlled possession and outshot the Falcons 18-3, but only managed a single goal in the 1-0 win. On Sunday, the Garnet were outshot 12-5 by the Stevens Ducks, but still managed a 2-0 win by scoring two first half goals.
Misericordia finished 2017 in the No. 24 spot in our poll. The Cougars are looking to replace the loss of a talented group of twelve graduated seniors. Despite that, the perennial MAC Freedom Conference powerhouse was still selected as the preseason favorite to finish atop the conference standings. The Cougars started the season by welcoming the Oneonta State Red Dragons to Dallas, PA. The Cougars outshot the Red Dragons 19-8 en route to a 1-0 win.
The Cougars follow up their light first week with a hectic one, welcoming the Susquehanna River Hawks Tuesday before the returning to Dallas, PA to host their Cougar Classic Tournament on the weekend. The Cougars will take on the Rochester Tigers and Kean Cougars at Mangelsdorf Field on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
The Scranton Lady Royals look this season to build on their back-to-back Landmark Conference championships and second round NCAA Tournament journey last season. The Royals started the season traveling to Union, NJ, to participate in the Kean University Cougar Classic, taking on the Cougars and Stockton Ospreys. On Friday, the Royals only outshot the Ospreys by the slim margin of 14-11, but outscored them by a whopping 4-0. Saturday, the Royals nearly equaled the previous day’s output by beating the host Cougars 3-0. Royal senior Jamie Hreniuk had a brace each day of the tournament, finishing the weekend with 4 goals.
This week, the Lady Royals bypass a weekday contest to continue their road warrior ways on the weekend by taking a long road trip to New England to take on the Western Connecticut Colonials.
The Arcadia Knights enter 2018 in unfamiliar territory - as defending MAC Commonwealth Conference Champions. The Knights claimed their first MAC Commonwealth championship last season, defeating Messiah 1-0 in double overtime. The Knights graduated a talented senior group, but have plenty of players with big game experience. They started their title defense by participating in the Haverford Kickoff Classic. The Knights were outshot 13-12 by the host Fords, but came out ahead on the scoreboard, defeating Haverford 2-1. On Sunday, the Knights were outshot 17-5, including 11-3 on goal, but managed a 1-1 draw with the Montclair State Red Hawks.
Wilkes looks to build on their successful 2017 campaign, finishing the season with the best MAC Freedom regular season record and their first ever NCAA Tournament win. New Head Coach John McNichol saw his team’s season opener at Penn State-Berks postponed due to weather. The game will be rescheduled for a later date.
The Susquehanna River Hawks found themselves back in the thick of the regional rankings in 2017, and hope to stay camped out there for a while. The River Hawks hosted the Lycoming Warriors for their annual River Derby Cup, and despite outshooting the Warriors 22-3, could only muster a single goal in the 1-0 win. The River Hawks will hold onto the cup for another year, winning for the fifth consecutive time. On Saturday, the River Hawks again outshot their opponent by a significant margin (14-5), but again struggled to find the net in a scoreless draw with the Muhlenberg Mules.
So there you have it! By no means, a complete review of all the action in the Mid-Atlantic, but we will continue to follow the top teams in the region each week. We’ll add any “movers and shakers” as they make themselves known, and make D3Soccer.com your place to turn for coverage of this powerful region. Join us next week for the results of this week’s matches and a preview of upcoming games.
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