The University of Scranton women's soccer team set their sights on the Landmark Conference championship right at the start of last season. That focus led to achieving that goal. Now, the Royals will try to repeat, and they'll do it as the favorites, according to a preseason poll of the conference's head coaches, released Tuesday morning.
Scranton received six first-place votes and finished with 68 points in the poll. Moravian was picked second with two first-place votes and 54 points, followed by Catholic (50 points), and Susquehanna and Elizabethtown were tied for fourth with 40 points each. Drew was sixth with 20 points, followed by Juniata (11) and Goucher (9) to round out the poll.
The Royals went 7-0 in conference play last season, then won the Landmark title with victories over Susquehanna and Moravian in the playoffs. The crown was the team's fifth in 10 years in the Landmark Conference and the program's 20th conference title in 34 seasons.
Head coach Colleen Pivirotto welcomes back four players who earned all-Landmark Conference honors last year, led by junior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell), who led the team with 13 goals and 29 points. That performance earned her co-Player of the Year and first-team honors in the conference.
Junior midfielder Brittany Uricchio (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) was also a first-team choice after finishing the season with six goals and four assists. Four of her goals were game-winners, and she had three goals and three assists against Landmark opponents.
Junior forward Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) was a second-team honoree, finishing the season with seven goals and five assists, and junior midfielder Taylor Stevens (Yardley, Pa./Villa Joseph Marie) was also a second-team selection after leading the conference with 10 assists and adding three goals.
Scranton also welcomes back six others who played in at least 15 matches last season, including senior midfielder Hannah DeMars (Cranford, N.J./Cranford), who was named the Landmark Conference championship MVP after scoring the match-winner in the title game.
The Royals open their season on Friday, Sept. 1, when they face Stockton at 3 p.m. at Kean University in Union, N.J. They will begin Landmark Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 23, by hosting Moravian at 1 p.m. at Fitzpatrick Field.
To see the complete 2017 Landmark Conference women's soccer poll, visit www.landmarkconference.org.