LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In exclusive voting by the league’s head coaches, Trinity University is the unanimous choice to repeat as Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s soccer champions. The Tigers, who have won the last 10 conference titles and 109 consecutive SCAC regular season matches, received all nine first-place votes to earn 81 points in the preseason balloting.
With 23 SCAC titles to its credit, only one program (Trinity men’s tennis) in conference history has been more dominant than the Trinity women’s soccer program. Led by head coach Dylan Harrison, the Tigers (17-2-1; 13-0 SCAC) won their 10th consecutive conference championship in 2018 with a 1-0 victory over Southwestern in the SCAC title match.
The preseason 18th-ranked Tigers return four All-SCAC players from a year ago, including senior defender Kristen Canepa and sophomore midfielder/forward Alex Walsh. Canepa, the reigning SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year, was elected to the United Soccer Coaches All-America First Team, the D3soccer.com All-America First Team and the United Soccer Coaches All-West Region First Team. She and her teammates posted 17 clean-sheet games and allowed only six goals during the season. Walsh was selected the SCAC Newcomer of the Year in her first season as a Tiger. The sophomore scored two goals and dished out four assists during the campaign.
Southwestern University (11-6; 8-3) received 68 points as the coaches’ second choice. The Pirates return two First Team All-SCAC selections from a year ago – senior defender Romie Reyna and senior goalkeeper Mary Cardone. Texas Lutheran University (8-5-4; 7-4-2) and Centenary College (9-6; 6-5) received 59 and 53 points to slot at third and fourth, respectively, in the preseason balloting. The Bulldogs return a couple of second team All-SCAC performers in seniors Bailey Nimtz and Jaclyn Smolik. Smolik finished fourth in the conference with nine goals. Senior forward Kyra Montes and senior midfielder Emilee Byrd – both All-SCAC first team selections from a year ago – are back to lead the Ladies. Montes is the league’s leading returning scorer, having found the back of the net 14 times last season.
The next three teams in the coaches’ predicted order of balloting finished with seven points of each other with SCAC newcomer University of St. Thomas (Texas) (12-3-1; 10-0-1 RRAC), Johnson & Wales University (Denver) (6-8-1; 5-7-1) and University of Dallas (3-11-4; 2-8-2) slotted to finish fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. St. Thomas received 39 points, which included a couple of second-place nods, while Johnson & Wales compiled 35 points and Dallas 32.
Rounding out the coaches’ preseason poll, Schreiner University (5-10-3; 3-8-2) was picked eighth with 26 points and Austin College (0-13-1; 0-9-1) was ninth with 12 points.
St. Thomas, Johnson & Wales and Schreiner all welcome new head coaches this year, even though one of those new hires is a familiar face to SCAC fans. After six seasons at Schreiner, which included SCAC Coach-of-the-Year selections in 2014 and 2015, Nick Morrison takes over the UST program as it begins its transition to NCAA Division III. Taking over for Morrison at Schreiner is Alyssa Taramona, who was an assistant at St. Mary’s (Texas) prior to her appointment with the Mountaineers. Rounding out this year’s new hires is Ria Denny at JWU Denver who spent the last three seasons as the associate head coach at JWU North Miami.
The SCAC women's soccer season begins on Friday, August 30, with several teams competing in early season tournaments, while the first conference matches of the season are scheduled for Friday, October 2. The 2019 SCAC Women's Soccer Tournament will be held in November on the campus of Southwestern University as quarterfinal matches will be contested on Friday the 8th, the semifinal matches on Saturday the 9th and the championship match being played Sunday the 10th.
|2019 SCAC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses, followed by total points)
|1.||Trinity University (9)||81|
|3.||Texas Lutheran University||59|
|5.||University of St. Thomas (Texas)||39|
|6.||Johnson & Wales University Denver||35|
|7.||University of Dallas||32|