Top 10 Preview
Undefeateds like Tufts, Salisbury look to gain on idle No. 1 MSU
Once again, there were no newcomers at the top of this week’s rankings. Montclair State remained atop the polls and the two teams behind the Crimson Hawks remained in their places. The biggest jump at the top of the polls was Franklin & Marshall, who went from No. 7 to No. 4.
This weekend there are no matchups of top-10 teams but with Montclair State off for the weekend, teams will try to pick up some wins and close the gap between themselves and the Crimson Hawks.
No. 1 Montclair State
No. 2 Tufts
The Jumbos look to keep up with undefeated Montclair State with a pair of games this weekend. On Saturday, they travel to play Amherst and return home for a Sunday game against Trinity (Conn.). Tufts started the year at the top of the polls but was overtaken by Montclair State earlier this year thanks in part to the number of games the two teams have played (the Crimson Hawks are 9-0 while the Jumbos are 5-0). A pair of wins this weekend for Tufts probably wouldn’t be enough for it to jump Montclair State, but it would keep the Jumbos a close second.
Dakota Sikes-Keilp leads the defending national champions with seven goals on the year and 15 points. Chelsea Yogerst is second on the team in both categories (four goals, eight points) and Bri Keenan has only allowed three goals in five starts while making 16 saves.
No. 3 Salisbury
The last time the Sea Gulls hit the road, they dropped a 1-0 game at Catholic on Sept. 18. This weekend, they travel to TCNJ for a Saturday game looking to get back to winning away from Sea Gull Stadium. Salisbury opened the season with a pair of wins on the road and have only played a total of three away from Sea Gull Stadium entering this weekend.
Except for the shutout loss at Catholic, the Sea Gulls have had a good start to their season. They are outscoring their opponents 35-3, with Mallory Elliott (seven goals), Courtney Jantzen (six goals) and Summer Washburn (five goals) leading the offense. Rachel Clewer has started all seven games, turning away 16 of 19 shots she’s faced.
No. 4 Franklin & Marshall
Despite being undefeated, the Diplomats still find themselves behind one-loss Salisbury. They did make a big move up the polls this week and will try to add an out-of-conference win on Saturday against Immaculata to their resume. It will be Franklin & Marshall’s first non-Centennial Conference game in more than two weeks.
The Diplomats offense hasn’t been as high scoring as other top teams with 16 goals in six games. Maria Guarisco leads the team with four goals and 12 points while Katie Cecere has added three goals. On the backend, Avery Koep has started five games and has given up four goals and made 13 saves.
No. 5 William Smith
The Herons have won their first seven games of the season, and will try to add two more to that total starting with a game on Friday against Rensselaer. Then on Saturday, William Smith hosts Vassar to close out its first two games of conference play this season. Last season, the Herons were undefeated in both the regular-season and tournament action in the Liberty League.
Taylor Cappello has the team lead with six goals, but is only tied for the lead in points with Melanie O’Connor (five goals, six assists for 16 points). Amy Feda has started all seven games for the Herons, making 18 saves and ceding 10 goals in that time.
No. 6 Bowdoin
No. 7 Middlebury
The Panthers have already won a game this week since dropping in the polls following a loss last week against Bowdoin. They have an opportunity to add two more wins this weekend when they host Colby on Saturday and Williams on Sunday. The Panthers defeated both of them last season by an identical 4-0 score and haven’t lost to either one since 2009 (a 2-1 loss to Williams).
Catherine Fowler has seven goals along with four assists in Middlebury’s first five games this season to give her a team-high 18 points. The Panthers have also been getting scoring from Katherine Theiss and Bridgey Instrum who each have five goals. Cassie Coasch (17 saves, seven goals allowed) has gotten the start in the previous two games after splitting time with Emily Knapp earlier this year.
No. 8 Mary Washington
No. 9 Christopher Newport
Off to their best start in program history (9-0), the Captains open up their conference season on Saturday when they host Frostburg State. It will also be the first time Christopher Newport has played a conference game in the Capital Athletic Conference after being an independent in previous years. Though they were not conference opponents, Christopher Newport and Frostburg State did meet last in 2011 with the Captains coming away with a 10-0 win.
Lauren Cheathem is on pace for one of the best seasons in Captains history, needing nine games to become the 13th player in program history to have at least 10 goals in a season. Belle Tunstall isn’t that far behind with seven goals and a team-high five assists. Bailey Lien has gotten the majority of the playing time in goal, allowing just four goals and turning away 32 shots.
No. 10 Messiah
After starting the season 3-0, the Falcons have dropped two of their previous three games, including a 2-1 loss to Ursinus on Wednesday. Their next opportunity to get back to their early season performance level comes Saturday when they host Alvernia in their first Commonwealth Conference game. Messiah has not lost a conference game in the previous five seasons, and defeated Alvernia 4-0 last season.
Four Falcons have scored multiple goals this year, led by Celina Nissley’s three. Racehl Cox, Moriah Pfautz and Brooke Sands each have two goals and only three other Messiah players have scored. Molly Gebrosky has played every minute in goal for the Falcons, making 27 saves and allowing seven goals.