KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The University of Scranton women's soccer team will kick-off their 2019 campaign in the same spot they ended the 2018 season - ranked in the Top 25 by the United Soccer Coaches (USC).
On Tuesday, the organization released their 2019 NCAA Division III Preseason Poll, and the Royals were voted 25th in the organization's initial rankings for the year. Scranton is also the only Landmark Conference team to receive recognition in the poll, which is headlined by 2018 NCAA Division III National Champion Williams.
To view the full 2019 United Soccer Coaches Division III Women's Soccer Preseason Top 25, click here.
In 2018, the Royals ended with the year with a 16-2-3 overall mark to place 25th in the final USC Top 25 poll, marking the first time since the end of the 2003 season that Scranton finished a campaign ranked nationally.
During the course of the year, the Royals went 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).
The 2019 Royals will be paced by senior defender Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor), as the 2018 Landmark Conference Defensive Player of the Year and USC Second Team All-American looks to continue to lead a strong Royals backline that allowed just 10 goals the entire 2018 campaign.
On offense, junior Erin Toburen (Harleysville, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) is the squad's returning goal scorer, as she found the back of the net six times throughout the 2018 season to earn both USC All-Region and All-Landmark Conference honors at the end of the year.
Scranton will open the 2019 season on Aug. 31, as they take on Montclair State in a match played at Haverford College. The Royals will open their 2019 home slate at Weiss Field on Sept. 7 against Vassar, as Scranton will host seven opponents at home throughout the course of the year.
The Royals will also play three teams ranked in the USC Preseason Top 25 throughout the course of the year - Misericordia (6th, Oct. 30), Farmingdale State (21st, Sept. 14) and Stevens (24th, Sept. 21) - with both Misericordia and Stevens coming to Scranton for non-conference matches.
For the full 2019 University of Scranton women's soccer schedule, click here.