Preseason has begun in earnest for most of the Division I soccer programs in our region.
In fact, the Robert Morris women played an exhibition match on Wednesday (4-1 loss to Bucknell) and Pitt and Duquesne women will do the same on Thursday.
WVU and Penn State women remain near top of rankings
No surprise here — as two familiar regional women’s soccer programs players from WPIAL will begin the season in a familiar place near the top of the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s Preseason Rankings.
Penn State, which won the National Championship in 2015, comes in ranked fourth while he five-time Big 12 champion West Virginia Mountaineers, the NCAA 2016 National Runner up, are the highest-ranked team in its conference.
Defending National Champion Stanford claimed the No. 1 spot, while UCLA, the reigning National Runner-Up, ranks No. 2. Duke, Penn State and South Carolina round out the top five. North Carolina, Florida and Virginia also rank ahead of West Virginia, while Florida State completes the top 10.
In all, four of the Mountaineers’ 2018 opponents are ranked in the poll: No. 4 Penn State, No. 15 Baylor, No. 17 Texas and No. 22 Georgetown.
Four Mountaineer players were named to the All-Preseason Big 12 team. Senior defenders Bianca St. Georges and Easther Mayi Kith, senior forward Sh’nia Gordon and junior goalkeeper Rylee Foster represented the Mountaineers on the preseason all-conference team. St. Georges was named an All-Big 12 First Team honoree in 2017, while Foster and Mayi Kith earned All-Big 12 Second Team distinction last season.
Pitt men receive votes
While Pitt’s men’s program, who started practicing on Tuesday, will be starting 2018 as a team that coaches across the nation are already keeping a close eye on — and have received some votes in the National preseason rankings.
— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) August 7, 2018
If you recall, last year, in its turnaround season, Pitt cracked the top 25 at one point, but after three straight losses to end the season, they fell out of the national rankings and didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament.
the coaching staff and players still know there is work to be done in order to get to where they want to be.
“I just make sure that they understand what’s in front of them more than they have before,” said third-year head coach Jay Vidovich. “That they know what they’re working for, that they have a big project ahead of them, that the difference that they made in the last year was not enough and they’ve got some work to do. So, they’re coming in knowing what type of work they have to do and they’ve been pretty self-motivated.”
Look for more from Vidovich and a complete preview on Pitt’s season ahead next week.
CMU women crack NCAA Div III top 20 too
In addition to the other Division I programs in the area, the only soccer team inside the Pittsburgh area that has cracked the top 20 is Carnegie Mellon University’s women’s team.
The Tartans begin this season ranked 11th after a 15-3-2 campaign a season ago, bringing eight startersback to a team that lost a 1-0 in the NCAA Division III tournament to Hardin Simmons University in the final 16. The Tartans have reached the NCAA tournament six straight seasons, and have reached the final 16 four times.
Comprehensive Fall 2018 Pittsburgh soccer schedule
If you are looking for one place to see the day-to-day schedule for all of the Division I teams, along with the Riverhounds SC games thrown in, look no further.
We’ve set up a comprehensive schedule page here on Pittsburgh Soccer Now, with the complete schedule from now through early November.
Here’s the schedule for all of Pittsburgh area teams this coming week:
|Sat||08/11/18||04:00:00 PM||Duq W||Kent State||Kent, OH||EXHIBITION|
|Sun||08/12/18||04:00:00 PM||RIVERHOUNDS||BETH STEEL FC||Lehigh Valley, PA|
|Sun||08/12/18||07:00:00 PM||Pitt men||Duq M||Ambrose Urbanic Field (Pitt)||EXHIBITION|
|Sun||08/12/18||Pitt W||Ohio State||Columbus, Ohio||EXHIBITION|
|Sun||08/12/18||03:00:00 PM||RMU W||Loyola (MD)||Baltimore, MD||EXHIBITION|
More previews coming
This week we began with our College previews — with a look at the Robert Morris women.
Coming up in the next week, Zac Weiss will provide a look at Duquense men and women, while I’ll be providing previews of Pitt men and women as well as Robert Morris men.