South Atlantic Week in Review- Week 1
By D3soccer.com Contributor
Welcome to the South Atlantic Region Review. This column will be a brief synopsis of the women’s side of things in the South Atlantic Region, a look back at last week’s games and a preview of the upcoming games for the top teams in the region. As in the other sections, 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 “turning the tide” in the South Atlantic, so to speak. Let’s get started. 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.
TCNJ finished the 2017 campaign at No. 3 in our final poll and start as the team to beat in the region. The Lions look to repeat their record-breaking season and return to the National Semifinal. The Lions graduated a supremely talented group of seniors, including three All-Americans, but can rely on a deep roster that boasts a whole troop of players with crucial “big game” experience. The Lions were slated to begin their season Friday afternoon on the road at Penn State-Brandywine, but inclement weather postponed the opener. The Lions instead started their season on Sunday by traveling the short distance to Glassboro, NJ, to face the Bridgewater Eagles in the Rowan Soccer Classic. The Lions picked up right where they left off last season, out-performing the Eagles on the pitch and on the stat sheet, racking up a 23-0 shots on goal difference and 12-1 advantage in corners in a 3-0 win.
The Lynchburg Hornets look to return to their 2017 form after making a deep run into the NCAA Tournament last season, culminating in a Sweet 16 appearance and a final ranking of No. 14 in our poll. The Hornets also captured their 15th ODAC Championship by registering a golden goal in the first overtime against Bridgewater. They then knocked off undefeated Christopher Newport in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on the Captains’ home field. The Hornets began their title defense by hosting the Gettysburg Bullets and Maryville Saints in their Shellenberger Classic tournament. On Friday afternoon, the Hornets dodged the Bullets with a 1-0 OT victory on a golden goal from senior Caitlin Mertens in the 97th minute. The Hornets were outshot 15-8, but were buoyed by senior keeper Delia LoSapio’s eight saves in net. On Sunday, lightning delayed their bout with the Maryville (Tenn.) Scots, but the Hornets waited it out and walked away with a 1-0 victory. The Hornets dominated the stat sheet, outshooting the Scots 21-2, but could only manage a single goal against Saints sophomore keeper Abbey Coleman, who made 9 saves in goal.
This week, the Hornets take a short jaunt down the road to the Roanoke Invitational Soccer Showcase for a monumental clash on Saturday against the Carnegie Mellon Tartans, who finished at No. 7 in our final poll. On Sunday, Lynchburg faces the Adrian Bulldogs.
Christopher Newport (2-0-0)
The Christopher Newport Captains had an historic 2017 campaign, sporting a 19-0-1 record before dropping a 2-1 decision to Lynchburg in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Captains look to make another deep run, returning nine starters from a year ago. But, they face some tough competition early. The Captains, who finished at No. 12 in our poll, faced the Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles, who ended the season at No. 11 and The College of Saint Benedict Blazers at the “Atlantic Orthopedic Soccer Tournament” in Virginia Beach, VA. On Friday night, the Captains found themselves in unfamiliar territory early, as the No. 11 Eagles scored less than two minutes into the game. But with stellar defense and an impressive two-goal performance by All-American Gabby Gillis, the Captains came from behind to notch a 2-1 victory. On Saturday night, Gillis matched her Friday performance (and then some) by recording her second career hat trick and an assist, making it an 11 point weekend for the senior forward. The Captains sent the Blazers back to Minnesota with a 6-0 thrashing.
The Rowan Profs finished 2017 at No. 25 in our poll and return an experienced team laden with senior leadership that it is looking to guide them to their third NJAC Championship in four years. The Profs have a tough schedule that started with a home loss against South Atlantic Region foe Bridgewater (VA) Eagles in their Rowan Soccer Classic tournament. In a close contest, the Profs outshot the Eagles 13-11 and held an edge in corners (8-4) but couldn’t find the back of the net in the 1-0 loss.
This week, the Profs try to get back into winning ways with a busy three-game week. They’ll host the Ravens of Rosemont College Tuesday before heading to Misenheimer, NC, to face the Wesleyan (Ga.) Ravens and the Emory Eagles at a Pfeiffer University weekend tournament.
Virginia Wesleyan (1-1-0)
Virginia Wesleyan ended the year receiving votes in our final poll, but finished just outside our Top 25. The Marlins won an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the ODAC regular season title, winning a first round contest before falling to eventual National Semifinalist TCNJ. The Marlins will be challenged often with a tough schedule, and it started off with bouts against the Saint Benedict Blazers and No. 11 UW-La Crosse Eagles at their Atlantic Orthopedic Soccer Tournament in Virginia Beach, VA. After a weather delay on a rain-soaked Friday night, the Marlins handed the “Bennies” a 1-0 loss, outshooting Saint Benedict 14-5. On Saturday, the Marlins battled No. 11 UW-La Crosse in a back-and-forth war on Birdsong Field. The Marlins fought back to tie the Eagles in the second half, but saw the Eagles put one in at the 86th minute to secure a 2-1 win.
The Marlins now have to turn around and travel to Salisbury to face the Sea Gulls mid-week before traveling to Newport News to take on the No. 9 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays in Christopher Newport’s “Captain’s Classic” Tournament on Friday night.
Bridgewater is coming off of one of the most successful seasons in their history, but the Eagles graduated 6 players that earned All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference honors. Some would call it a rebuilding year, but the Eagles think that they if they can remain healthy, they can out-perform last year’s team, who made it to the ODAC championship game. The Eagles started the season with a schedule as difficult as any - a long road trip to New Jersey to face NJAC and fellow South Atlantic Region powerhouses Rowan and TCNJ at the Rowan Soccer Classic Tournament. On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles stunned Rowan on the Profs’ home field, downing the No. 25 Profs 1-0 in a hard-fought contest. The Eagles played tough defense, holding Rowan to 3 shots on goal and controlling play on set pieces. On Sunday, the TCNJ Lions brought the Eagles back down to earth, handing them a 3-0 loss. The Lions dominated play, outshooting the Eagles 23-0 and holding a 12-1 edge in corners. The Bridgewater keepers accounted for 10 saves and the team added an eleventh, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Eagles in the game.
The Eagles are heading back home to Virginia for a busy week, as they host the Averett Cougars before heading back out on the road to Lexington, VA, for the Washington andLee Classic, where they’ll face the Salisbury Sea Gulls, and the Franklin and Marshall Diplomats.
The Centre Colonels received votes in our final poll last season, but finished just outside our Top 25. The Colonels look to continue their dominant run over the last several years, winning their sixth consecutive Southern Athletic Association championship and earning their seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Colonels began the season at home, hosting the Mount Union Purple Raiders and DePauw Tigers. On Friday night, the Colonels scored early and continued to press the Purple Raiders, walking away with a 4-0 victory. On Sunday, the Colonels handed Head Coach Jay Hoffman his 200th career win by dominating DePauw, 3-1. The Colonels outshot the Tigers 25-6 and held an 8-0 lead in corners.
The Roanoke Maroons had a successful 2017 campaign, finishing eighth in the South Atlantic Region rankings. The Maroons look to maintain their winning ways by relying on the top defense in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference last season. The Maroons started the year in Lynchburg Saturday, facing the Gettysburg Bullets at the Shellenberger Invitational. The Maroons were outshot (21-7) and out-cornered (8-4), but held on for a 1-1 draw. The match was called in the first overtime period due to lightning. Roanoke returned to Salem on Sunday, starting a long stretch of six home games at Kerr Stadium by hosting the Maryville Scots. The Maroons scored a goal in each half and kept Maryville off the scoreboard, resulting in a 2-0 win.
The Maroons stay at home this weekend for their Roanoke Invitational Soccer Showcase, hosting the Adrian College Bulldogs Saturday before meeting the nationally ranked Tartans of Carnegie Mellon Sunday.
Montclair State (1-0-1)
The Montclair State Red Hawks made it to the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game last season, falling to eventual National Semifinalist TCNJ 1-0. The Red Hawks return a league-high five NJAC all-conference players, but were selected to finish third in the conference behind TCNJ and Rowan. The Red Hawks began their quest to prove themselves at the Haverford Kick Off Classic, blanking the St. John College Cardinals, 2-1. The Red Hawks outshot the Cardinals, 12-4, and held a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks. Montclair State advanced to Sunday’s championship game against Arcadia on Sunday. The Red Hawks battled the Knights for 110 minutes, out shooting Arcadia 17-5, but the contest ended knotted at 1-1, officially making the match a draw. However, the tournament needed a champion. So, to PK’s they went, where the Red Hawks prevailed, 2-1.
That’s it for this season’s opening week action in the South Atlantic Region. While not able to cover every team and every game, we’ll do our best to cover the top teams in the region and make it worth your while to return every week to D3soccer.com to find out the results and see the upcoming contests for your favorite South Atlantic teams. Join us next week for the results of this week’s matches and a preview of upcoming games.
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