The University of Scranton women's soccer team has won two straight Landmark Conference championships and five of the last eight. If the preseason predictions hold true, the Royals will be adding to that list in November.
Scranton was chosen as the overwhelming favorite in the preseason poll of the conference's coaches, which was released on Thursday afternoon. The Royals finished with the 70 points, the most possible, and seven first-place votes. Susquehanna was second with 46 points and one first-place vote, followed by Catholic (44 points), Elizabethtown (36), Moravian (34), Drew (22), Juniata (11) and Goucher (9).
The Royals went 15-4-2 last season, winning the conference title with a 2-0 win over Susquehanna at Fitzpatrick Field. A week later, they defeated 25th-ranked Rowan, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to 10th-ranked Messiah in the second round.
Head coach Colleen Pivirotto, who enters her 12th season, welcomes back three players who earned all-region honors last season and two others who were honored at the conference level.
Senior midfielder Erica Licari (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown East) was a first-team all-region selection by the United Soccer Coaches after finishing last season with six goals and four assists. Senior forward Jamie Hreniuk (West Caldwell, N.J./James Caldwell) and junior defender Rebecca Russo (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) were second-team choices. Hreniuk led the team with 12 goals and 25 points while Russo anchored a back line that posted 14 shutouts and allowed just 14 goals in 21 matches.
Scranton also welcomes back senior goalkeeper Colleen Berry (Ridgewood, N.J/Ridgewood), who was a first-team all-Landmark Conference selection, joining Licari, Hreniuk and Russo. Berry was also a D3Soccer.com second-team All-American after finishing with a save percentage of .887 with a 0.64 goals-against average. Sophomore defender Shae Guilfoyle (West Nyack, N.Y./Pearl River) also returns after earning conference Rookie of the Year honors for her work on the back line.
The Royals will open their season on Friday when they face Stockton at 2 p.m. at Kean University in Union, N.J. They will play their home opener on the new Weiss Field at the Quinn Athletics Campus on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. And Scranton opens Landmark Conference play by hosting Goucher on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. at Weiss Field.
To see the complete Landmark Conference women's soccer preseason poll, visit www.landmarkconference.org.