COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's soccer team placed 15th in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason poll, which was released by the league office today and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. The Purple Knights drew 18 points. Adelphi University, which is 15th in the United Soccer Coaches preseason national poll, earned the top spot in the 15-squad NE10 rankings with 185 points.
Twenty student-athletes with college experience dot a veteran-heavy roster. The Purple Knights finished 2017 with a 3-11-2 overall mark and 2-11-1 record in NE10 play, yielding two goals or fewer 13 times, including during a 1-0 setback to No. 8 Adelphi. A pair of 2-1 losses came against regionally-ranked Assumption College and Merrimack College. Assumption was picked fifth in this year's preseason poll, and Merrimack placed eighth. Saint Michael's posted its best save total in eight years, highest save percentage in seven, and lowest goals-against average in five.
Four of the Purple Knights' top five scorers return, among them sophomore midfielder Taryn Manna (Shirley, Mass./Home Schooled), the team leader with three assists and a selection for the NE10 All-Rookie Team. Junior midfielder Greta Ricigliano (Milwaukee, Wis./Nicolet) scored twice, and junior back Meghan Dieterle (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) deposited two goals in her first season as a starter. Dieterle is among six returners with extensive experience in the backfield, while senior Megan LeCours (Barre, Vt./Spaulding) held down the starting goalkeeper spot for the second straight year in 2017. She was second in the NE10 in saves per game (6.6) and eighth in save percentage (.814).
In its sixth season under head coach Wendy Elles, the Purple and Gold heads to Florida for its first two games, playing beyond New England, New Jersey or New York for the first time in program history. Saint Michael's is at Barry (Fla.) University on Aug. 31 before opposing Saint Edward's (Texas) University on Barry's field on Sept. 2. The Purple Knights' home schedule starts against Northern Vermont University-Lyndon on Sept. 4, and NE10 play commences four days later at Southern Connecticut State University.