Wheaton Earns 13th Straight NCAA Tourney Bid, Hosts Weekend Pod
NORTON, Mass.- The Wheaton College women's soccer team received word of its 13th straight NCAA Tournament selection on Monday afternoon, as the Lyons are hosting a four-team pod beginning with Saturday's first-round game against Westfield State University at 11:00 a.m. Saturday's second semifinal at 1:30 p.m. features Farmingdale State College and Williams College. Saturday's winners continue on to Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the following weekend's sectional round.
Selected as an at-large team after advancing to its 11th New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament title game yesterday, Wheaton drew even with Springfield College. The Lyons enter the NCAA Tournament with a 16-1-6 record after going 7-1-1 in league play. Wheaton, which will meet Westfield State for the first time in program history, is ranked 16th nationally and third in New England by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Ranked ninth in the region, Westfield State is 18-0-1 after defeating Bridgewater State University in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) tourney title game. The Lyons, who haven't played Westfield State in their program's history, enter the weekend unbeaten in their last seven contests, while the Owls have won 14 straight. Farmingdale State captured the Skyline Conference title, and Williams won the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship.
Wheaton is 15-11-2 in NCAA Tournament play under 16th-year head coach Luis Reis, who has led the Lyons to at least 16 wins in each of the last 14 seasons. Becoming just the sixth active Division III coach to surpass 300 victories, Reis boasts one of the highest winning percentages among NCAA women's soccer coaches with a record of 301-50-24 (.835). Wheaton is 9-5 at Mirrione Stadium during NCAA Tournament action and went 8-1-2 on its home field this season.
Holding a 60-16 scoring advantage with a 0.65 goals against average and 12 shutouts, the Lyons are led by Wheaton's veteran backfield that is comprised of seniors Samantha Bennett (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) and Jordan Muse (Candia, N.H./Central), junior Rachelle Rodman (Fair Oaks, Calif./Bella Vista) and freshman Tess Weyburne (Maynard, Mass./Maynard). The Lyon defense has held all but three opponents to a goal or less.
Freshman goalie Taylor Wilson (Bellingham, Mass./Bellingham) is 8-0-6 with a 0.80 goals against average in 14 starts, while classmate Ali Hinton (Lafayette, Colo./Alexander Dawson School) is 8-1 with a 0.50 GAA in nine starts. Hinton served as Wheaton's keeper during Saturday's and Sunday's shootouts against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Springfield, respectively.
The Blue and White's balanced offensive attack is led by sophomore Lauren Corigliano (Roselle Park, N.J./Roselle Park), who boasts team highs of 13 goals and 32 points to go alongside her six assists. Senior Cassey Muse (Candia, N.H./Central) and freshman Julia Cipriano (Middlebury, Conn./Pomperaug) each have 25 points, with Muse recording nine goals and seven assists and Cipriano eight markers and a squad-best nine helpers. Freshman Cat Amick (Vashon, Wash./Vashon Island) is fourth on the team with 23 points, posting nine goals and five assists.