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Liberty League Womens Soccer 2022

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Looking at the Liberty League statistics for 2021, 8 of the overall statistical leaders in offensive categories were fifth year players. An additional 5 players are fourth years with one year of eligibility left, whose return for a fifth year is uncertain. With the departure of this offensive talent, it looks like 2022 will likely be a year of major transition for most teams in the Liberty League.  Will this transition year loosen William Smith’s grasp on the Liberty League title in 2022?  Here is a look at how graduation will affect each team in the League.

#1 William Smith is losing Juila Keogh (D3soccer.com and LL POY) as well as 3 of their top offensive leaders (Adams, McQuillian and Hinrichs). They also may lose Gray (3 goals) and Kneike (3 goals), who were also in the top ten in some of the League’s statistical categories. Definitely returning are Blakely-Armitage (#4 in team pts, 9 goals), Katrine Berg (#6 in team pts, 4 goals), Emma Faso (#8 in team pts, 4 goals) and Julia Berg (#9 in team pts, 4 goals). With their deep bench, it will be interesting to see which other player may step up to replace the offensive power that is leaving the team.

#2 Ithaca is losing their top two offensive leaders in Epifani and Espenhorst  as well as Megan 0’Reilly (#5 on team for pts). There is a question whether Buttinger (LL top ten in GWG,4 goals) will return for a fifth year. Definitely returning are Delaney Rutan (LL top 10 in shots, 2 goals), Rosey Bostian (LL top ten in shots and shots on goal, 4 goals) and defender Richards (LL top 10 in GWG)

#3 Union is losing their top offensive player O’Shea, Dworkin (#4 in team pts) and, if she decides not to return for a 5th year, Schleimer (#2 in team pt, 5 goals). Definitely returning is Friedman (#3 in team pts, 4 goals) and Sgueglia (#5 in team pts, 4 goals).

#4 RIT is returning Cataldo-Smith, their top offensive player for past 2 years (2019 LL ROY, 2021- #2 in LL goals, game-winners and pts) but is losing McHale (#2 in team pts). Also returning are Allor (#3 in team pts, 3 goals), Williams (#4 in team pts, 3 goals) and Schock (#5 in team pts, 3 goals).

#5 Skidmore is losing their top offensive player Eljaeik as well as Craft (#2 in team pts) and Allen (#4 In team pts). Definitely returning is Stone (#3 in team pts, 3 goals) and Dunn (#5 in team pts, 2 goals)

#6 Vassar is losing their top offensive player Herrera-Ross (5 goals) and Rubinelli (#4 in team pts, 2 goals). Definitely returning is Morrison (#2 in team pts, 4 goals) and Monnelly (#3 in team pts, 2 goals).

#7 St Lawrence could possibly lose their top offensive player O’Hara,(5 goals 6 assists) if she does not return for a fifth year. They are also losing Isabel (#2 in team pts). Definitely returning are Potter (#3 in team pts, 5 goals) and Reynolds (#4 in team pts, 3 goals).

#8 RPI is losing their top two offensive players, Winsom  and Emma Barnes  They are returning Gwen Barnes (1goal, 3 assists) ,Nambior (2 goals) and several other players scoring 2 goals or less.

#9 Clarkson is returning their top 4 offensive players,  Hodge (4 goals), Fahrenkrug (4 goals)  , Cascone (1 goals, 4 assists) and Kohls (3 goals).

#10 Bard may be losing Dickson (1 goal) if she doesn’t return for a fifth year. Definitely returning are Peet and Randall, who both scored a goal last year.

Having connections to RIT, I have always looked forward to the upcoming seasons to see if another team could supplant William Smith as League champion for the first time in 13 years. In the past 3 years, Ithaca and RIT have shown that potential but not gotten over the hump. Certainly, the League overall would benefit from consistently having more than two teams in the NCAA playoffs. In the past seven years, the League has had the following # of teams in the NCAA playoffs: only Willima Smith in 2016, 2017 and 2019; two teams (WS and Ithaca) in 2015 and 2021; and four teams (WS, Ithaca, RIT and Vassar) in 2018.

Now that the commitment period has closed, I was wondering if any parents from the League teams were willing to share their impressions of the recruiting season and identify key players to watch in the fall. I realize that many will be unable to draw conclusions until midway through the pre-season but would welcome your feedback when you can do so.

Realizing that William Smith was losing most of their offensive scorers to graduation, I posed that question to  another poster with connections to William Smith. I will share a portion of his comments to me:

"In terms of the focus of the Fall 2022 offense, I suspect Ella Reish, a rising sophomore, to emerge as the top goal scorer - from her play on the development team, she appears to have the mentality and skill set - she is a baller. The only reasons she wasn't varsity are named Keogh, McQuillan and Adams. I think Blakely-Armitage will be asked to step up, especially at first, and Emma Faso will contribute, as you suspect. The Berg sisters roles may evolve again. Initially Julia Berg was a defender and played midfield in 2021, while Kat Berg was a forward, who played midfield and some defense in 2021. They could end up anywhere. Other player roles will evolve as well, such as Marissa Mastracco, who as a first year in 2021, IMO found herself lost as a midfielder and was moved back to defense so she could see the game better. She may end up a forward/winger and pick up either McQuillan's or Adams' role. I am high on rising junior Emma Kirts, she could end up being the DMid in front of the back four, or a centerback. Rising junior Taylor Ashe will find a spot in the midfield, I think."

IMO, there will not be a huge dropoff by William Smith.

RIT hopes to challenge William Smith as the only team in the League returning the majority of its strongest offensive players. Keep an eye on their main scorer Cataldo-Smith (2019 ROY, 2021 -2d in LL goal and points) to have a bounce back year after scoring less goal that her freshman year due to injury. They expect an impact from having Madison Corso return up top at full strength and further development from Emma Schock in her 2d year. They are excited to add a redshirt freshman (Sam ?) along with incoming recruits Elena Onadera and Jillian Antol, who have each demonstrated speed and strong ball skills. The RIT defense will be led by Lauren Zeglen (who was having strong 2021 season until an ACL tear) and Erin Allor who had led the midfield since her freshman year.

Looking forward from your feedback.

The schedules for Liberty League play have been largely released.  Some early non-league matchups worth watching are:

9/4   William Smith v. Carnegie Mellon  and  9/10  William Smith v Messiah:  Facing significant offensive turnover from 2021, William Smith has scheduled 4 pre-season matches to help their players settle into their new roles. These 2 early regular season matches should give us an idea as to how effective their offense will be this season.

9/10 Vassar v Scranton and 9/14 Vassar v Western Conn State. These 2 matchups against 2021 NCAA playoff teams should help determine whether Vassar will be a threat this season.

9/7 RIT v Geneseo and 9/10 RIT v Otterbein: These matches against quality teams will show whether RIT has added any impactful players to their offense.
Some pivotal Liberty Leagues matchups among likely League playoff teams to watch:
9/21  William Smith v RIT
9/24   Vassar v RIT
9/28 William Smith v Ithaca
10/25 Ithaca v RIT
10/29 Ithaca v Vassar

With so much turnover on most of the teams in the League, it should be an interesting season to watch.

I was able to stream the game on 9/4 between 15th ranked Carnegie Mellon (CM) against the 5th ranked William Smith (WS). This game was the first test of how William Smith would respond to the loss of four 5th year players plus 2 other seniors to graduation. WS had a prior game against the Univerity of St Joseph, a less skilled team, with WS winning 8-0 but without a single player having more than 1 goal. This was the first game of the season for Carnegie Mellon and it showed in the first half.

The first half seemed to be mostly mired in the midfield with neither team making any dangerous plays. However WS had the better of play, outshooting CM 6-4. WS broke through with a goal in the 27th minute off of a corner kick deflection. However, CM seemed to settle down afterwards. In the second half, CM took control, outshooting WS 11-5. CM had a number of dangerous opportunities to tie the game but were unable to finish. WS was able to tack on a second goal against the run of play and then held on by its fingernails for the win. After 4 pre-season games and a gimme first match, it is difficult to argue that the WS players are still trying to figure out their new roles. WS definitely looks less dangerous offensively than in past years and the door may be more open to a new League champion than in the past. The next match for WS is against Messiah on 9/10. WS will definitely have to up its game if it intends to win that game.

I was also able to stream the RIT matches against Denison on 9/2 and Kenyon on 9/3. RIT won both matches by scores of 2-1 and 2-0 respectively. RIT showed both speed and control, significantly outpossessing its opponents in both matches. Swinging the ball back and forth across the field and then attacking through the gaps they created. This style of play seemed to wear down its opponents and allowed RIT to control the second half. In the Denison match, Denison forward Callie Davis was the offensive creator who scored the first goal in the 15th minute. Re-watching the game, Davis was offsides on the play but the refs missed it. Davis managed two shots on goal in the first 7 minutes of the match and had 4 total shots in the first 15 minutes. However, the RIT defense wore Denison down, allowing only one shot for the rest of the game. In the Kenyon match, RIT controlled most of the match, outshooting Kenyon 7-3 in the first half and 11-5 in the scond half. At no point did it feel that Kenyon was in the match.

Last night RIT went up against its first serious challenge, playing #25 Geneseo. This is always a tough match for RIT, who won last year's match 1-0 on a rebound off of a PK by Cataldo-Smith. Candidly, this was the best that I have seen RIT play over the 3 years that I have followed them. Geneseo generated only 2 shots and 3 corner kicks in the first half. RIT continued with its style of play, looking for quick attacks through the gaps and had 7 shots against them. In the second half, RIT shut down Geneseo completely, not allowing a single shot or corner kick. Meanwhile, RIT put away 2 goals in a span on one minute (67th and 68th minutes respectively), generating 12 shots and 4 corner kicks.

My pre-season question as to whether RIT added any dangerous players to supplement their offense has been answered positively. Six different players have scored the 6 RIT goals in these 3 matches. Freshman Roberta Moger has shown dangerous speed on the outside while red-shirt sophomore Sam Halligan is currently leading the team in shots and points. Senior Madison Corso has been busy in front of the net and scored her first goal off of a deflection on a Halligan shot. While their top scorer from prior years (Cataldo-Smith) has yet to score a goal, she continues to draw attention from the opponent's defense and made a beautiful chip shot over the goalie that lead to Halligan's goal in the Geneseo game. Their defense has been solid and has limited scoring opportunities throughout these matches. Sophomore Amber Flynn (who never saw the field last year) is now starting on the back line and has been an eye-opening defender. Jessica Gomez has been outstanding in the midfield, challenging for balls and getting the ball up to the forwards in dangerous spots. As you can tell, I'm a little excited about the prospects of their season and think William Smith should be a little worried. Their next match is against Otterbein on 9/10.


The Liberty League as a whole seems to have gotten off to a great start. There are 5 teams that have yet to lose this season. William Smith's only loss is against Messiah. Vassar has had some notable results.

SCHOOL         OVERALL           PCT.           STREAK          NOTABLE WINS/LOSS/TIES
RIT                 4-0                   1.000   W4                  2-0 win v #25 Geneseo

Union              4-0                    1.000   W4                 

Clarkson          4-0-1                     .900   W2                  0-0 Tie with Cortland

St. Lawrence    4-0-1                     .900   W1                   0-0 Tie with Nazareth

Ithaca               3-0-1             .875   T1                     2-2 tie v Fredonia   

Skidmore           2-1                     .667   W1

William Smith    2-1                     .667   L1                    2-0 win v #15 Carnegie M;
                                                                                        2-1 v #17 Messiah

Bard            1-2-1             .375   L1

Vassar              1-2-1                     .375   W1                     1-0 win v #10 Scranton; 0-0 tie v NYU

RPI                   0-3-1             .125   L2


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