St. Louis, Mo., August 14, 2013 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's soccer team is ranked No. 4 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire preseason top-25 poll, as announced by the organization.
Two-time defending NCAA Division III champion Messiah College begins the season ranked No. 1. Washington University will take on five teams ranked in the preseason top-25, including three of the top-five: No. 2 Emory University, No. 3 Wheaton College (Ill.), No. 5 Carnegie Mellon University, No. 12 Brandeis University and No. 25 University of Chicago.
Sixth-year head coach Jim Conlon returns nine players who started at least 10 games each in 2012. The Bears finished last season with a school record 19-2-1 mark, and advanced to the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals for the sixth time in school history. Washington U. also won its eighth University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship with a 6-0-1 record.
Leading the way for Washington U.'s returners are three NSCAA All-Central Region selections from a year ago – junior midfielder Anna Zambricki, junior forward Lillie Toaspern and senior back Kate Doyle. Zambricki, who earned UAA Co-Most Valuable Player and first-team all-UAA honors, was a 2012 first-team All-American for both the NSCAA and D3Soccer.com. The Bears' leading scorer from a year ago with 14 goals, six assists and 34 points, Zambricki enters her junior season ranked sixth in school history in game-winning goals (10), seventh in goals (24) and ninth in points (58).
Toaspern, Washington U.'s second-leading scorer from a year ago with seven goals and seven assists for 21 points, was a second-team all-region selection. Doyle, who tied for the team lead with seven assists last season, is a three-time all-UAA honoree and was named to the all-region honorable mention in 2012.
The six other returners who made double-digit starts in 2012 include sophomore forward Olivia Lillegraven (three goals, six assists), senior midfielder Jen Reed (two goals, one assist), junior midfielder Tessa Klumpp (one goal), senior forward Becky Berels (two assists), senior back Rachel Ing (one assist), and senior back Darcy Banco (one assist).
Washington University opens the 2013 season at Rhodes College at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, in Memphis, Tenn.