St. Louis, Mo., August 8, 2014 — The Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team is ranked No. 4 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and Continental Tire preseason top-25 poll, as announced Friday by the organization.
Seventh-year head coach Jim Conlon returns seven starters and 17 letterwinners from last year's team, which set a school record with a 20-1-1 overall mark and advanced to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals for the third-straight season. The Bears also won their second-consecutive and ninth University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship with a 7-0 record.
"We are extremely excited to see how the 2014 team will emerge. We have many players back from the team that posted a 20-1-1 season a year ago," said Conlon, who has guided Washington U. to a 100-24-9 (.786) overall record in six seasons. "Our focus will be to have these young ladies play to their fullest potential, win our 10th UAA title and make a deep run into the NCAA tournament."
Senior forward Lillie Toaspern earned 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire All-America honors a year ago after leading the team and the conference in goals scored (13) and points (34). Toaspern also added eight assists and four game-winning goals, third most in the UAA. A first-team all-Central Region and all-UAA selection, she had five goals and an assist in four NCAA Tournament games, including and a hat trick in the 3-0 victory over No. 18 University of Puget Sound in the NCAA Sectional Semifinal Nov. 23.
Junior goalkeeper Amy French picked up NSCAA First-Team All-Central Region honors in 2013 after a record-breaking season in the nets. French posted a 19-1-1 record with a 0.40 goals against average, and set the single-season school record with 11 shutouts. The 19 wins also tied a school record. A second-team all-UAA honoree, French led the UAA and was seventh in NCAA Division III in goals against average (0.40), while also leading the conference in save percentage (.893) and shutouts (11).
Junior forward Olivia Lillegraven and senior back Tessa Delaney also return after earning all-conference honors a year ago. Lillegraven, a second-team all-UAA selection, was second on the team with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points. Delaney, an honorable-mention all-UAA honoree, started 21 games at center back and anchored a defense that set a school record with eight goals allowed and 11 shutouts.
Defending national champion William Smith College enters the season as the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division III. The Bears will face four teams ranked in the preseason top-25 poll: Wheaton College (Ill.) (No. 7), Emory University (No. 11), Illinois Wesleyan University (No. 20) and Loras College (No. 22).
Washington U. opens up the 2014 season at St. Olaf College on Friday, August 29, at 2 p.m.