Tuesday, August 29, 2017

2017 Wilkes Women’s Soccer Preview: Another Postseason Push

WILKES-BARRE – The Wilkes University women’s soccer team will look to carry momentum into the 2017 season after finishing last year by winning five of its last six games before losing in overtime in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Freedom semifinals. Overall the Lady Colonels were 7-11 but finished 5-2 and in second place in the MAC Freedom regular season standings.

Head coach John Sumoski will lead Wilkes on to the pitch for his 16th season and carries a 144-124-29 (.534) overall record during his tenure, leading the team into MAC Freedom postseason play in 13 of his 15 seasons. Like last season, Wilkes will play a schedule that will test the team. “The schedule is always challenging, I wouldn't have it any other way,” Sumoski said. “It makes us all work hard. I believe scheduling quality teams prepares you for conference play and in the event the team doesn't perform well, it's a great opportunity to identify problems, provide solutions and especially test our bond.​”

Returning at forward for the Lady Colonels will be senior Dianna Connor, who was a Second Team All-MAC Freedom selection in 2016 after leading the team with five goals. Junior Nicolette Towlen returns after leading the team with four assists last year, which when adding in her three goals, Towlen tied Connor for the team lead with 10 points. Also returning up top is 2016 Honorable Mention All-MAC Freedom selection senior Micaela Oliverio who was a Second-Team selection in 2014 and 2015. Senior Ema Sabovic, junior Alyssa Shaver, and sophomore Allison Peet will also look to build on their performances last season at forward for Wilkes. They will be joined by junior newcomers Nicole Harmer, Kaelyn Michitti, and Daniela Bernal along with freshman Mackenzie Koharski.

In the midfield, 2016 Honorable Mention All-MAC Freedom selection junior Aislinn Speranza will lead the way along with senior Olivia Schlottmann. Junior Emily Wirth, and sophomores Haley Evans, Delfina Bracchi and Cecelia Fiorentino also return with Emily Sutton looking to make an impact in both the midfield and the defense during her senior season. New to the program will be freshman Elise Brubaker.

On defense Wilkes returns seniors Elena Denger and Shelby Trumbo, who were both named Second Team All-MAC Freedom for their 2016 campaigns. Junior Lauren Esser returns after starting her first two years while senior Julia Tyler, junior Megan Lercara, and sophomores Emily Egan, Jessica Egan, and Dani McGlynn along with freshmen Niamh Harkins and Catherine Gregoire will look to earn starting spots on the Wilkes defense.

Competing for the starting goalkeeper position will be junior Courtney Stanley, and sophomores Kendall Koch and Samantha Cecere.

The eight-member senior class will look to provide leadership on the field for the Lady Colonels in 2017. “The senior class has had a positive impact over their first three years and they will be called upon again to produce,” Sumoski noted. “Most of them have played over the summer and I can see the difference from previous years. They are all very committed.​”

As freshmen, Koharski, Brubaker, Harkins, and Gregoire have already made an impact in the 2017 preseason. “We had all intentions of bringing on a small class that could make an immediate impact and all four freshmen have done so,” Sumoski commented. “It's a gritty, competitive group and I have been so impressed with the quality of these four freshmen on the field. Better yet, they are good people, and they help us build our culture on the values that we stand on.​”

Wilkes, who was selected by the MAC Freedom coaches to finish in a tie for second in the annual preseason poll last Friday, will kick off the 2017 season on Friday, September 1 when Wilkes hosts Penn State Berks with a 6:30 p.m. start time at Schmidt Stadium. The first conference action will kick off at Delaware Valley University on Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m.

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