An historic season for the University of Scranton women's soccer team will close with the Royals ranked in the final United Soccer Coaches (USC) NCAA Division III Rankings of the year, which were released by the organization on Tuesday. In the last ranking of 2018, Scranton finished 25th.
This marks the fifth time in program history that Scranton finishes the year ranked nationally in the Top 25. It's also first time since the 2003 season that Scranton will end the season ranked, as that season, the Royals finished fifth in the final Coaches' poll of the campaign.
In 2018, the Royals ended with the year with a 16-2-3 overall mark, going unbeaten in Landmark Conference regular season play (7-0) for the fourth straight season. Eventual Landmark runners-up, Scranton went on to earn an at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament, where they knocked off Arcadia (3-1) before bowing out to Christopher Newport in the Second Round (2-0).
Scranton, who began the year unbeaten at 13-0-2 before losing their first match in late October, were paced all season by one of the strongest defensive units in the entire country.
Led by USC Second Team All-America selection and Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year junior Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor), the Royals allowed just 10 goals the entire 2018 campaign, which was good enough for one of the best goals against average in the entire country at 0.46 (18th best nationally).
On offense, senior Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) led the team in scoring for the third straight season, finishing with 24 total points (11 goals, two assists). Meanwhile, fellow senior Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) scored six game-winning goals, which ranked in the Top 25 in that category at seasons end.
For the final United Soccer Coaches Division III Top 25 for the 2018 season, click here.