Junior center back Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) has been a brick wall on defense for The University of Scranton women's soccer team all season. Her performance this season was recognized throughout the Landmark Conference as she was voted the Defensive Player of the Year.
Russo's selection as Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference highlights Scranton's all-conference selections, which includes Coach of the Year honors for head coach Colleen Pivirotto. Senior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell), senior goalkeeper Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) and sophomore midfielder Erin Toburen (Harleysville, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) joined Russo on the First Team while senior midfielder Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) and freshman defender Hope Drewes (Yardley, Pa./Pennsbury) were named to the Second Team.
Russo, who is a first-team selection for the second straight year, has been a force for the Royals' defense, helping them hold opponents to 0.325 goals per game (six in 18 matches), the 12th-best mark in the country. Perhaps just as impressively, Russo is a big reason why the Royals allow just 6.9 shots per game and only 3.6 on goal.
Defense isn't the only area Russo has made an impact, though. She has three goals this season and has taken 17 shots as a key weapon on set pieces near the goal.
When the opponent does find its way through Russo and the back line, Berry has been there to stop nearly every shot she faces. Her 0.32 goals-against average leads the Landmark Conference and is ranked 15th in NCAA Division III. Her .909 save percentage is ranked 12th in the nation, and she has eight shutouts, including six against Landmark Conference foes. Berry earned first-team honors for the second straight season.
Hreniuk is a three-time first-team all-Landmark honoree, having also earned the accolades each of the past two seasons. She leads the Royals with 10 goals, which is ranked second in the conference, and her 21 points also lead the team and are second in the Landmark. She has four games this season with two goals and leads the team in shots with 42.
Toburen has been a force on both ends of the field as a defensive midfielder while earning all-conference honors for the first time. In addition to helping solidify the defense from her spot just in front of the back line, she has made a significant impact offensively. She has a career-high six goals, which is tied for second on the team and includes two games of two goals each. Her 27 shots are second-most on the team.
Licari, who was a first-team selection last season and second-team in 2016, has again been a standout in the midfield for the Royals. She has six goals on the season, tied for second on the team, and, remarkably, all six have been game-winners. She leads the Landmark Conference and is ranked 15th in the nation in game-winning goals.
Drewes has bolstered the Royals' defense since stepping on campus this fall. She plays alongside Russo at center back, giving Scranton one of the top center back duos in the region. In addition to helping Scranton shut down opposing offenses, she's a key part of the offense, taking free kicks and some corner kicks on restarts. She has a goal and three assists, including a goal and two assists in Landmark Conference play.
Pivirotto's Coach of the Year honor is her fourth, as she also received the honor in 2010, 2013 and 2016. Pivirotto molded a team that lost two starters on defense and one in the midfield to graduation and also dealt with injuries to key players throughout the season. The Royals head into Saturday's NCAA Tournament first round game against Aracida with a 15-1-3 record, marking the third straight season and fourth in the last six in which they won at least 15 games.
To see the complete 2018 All-Landmark Conference women's soccer awards, click here.