Author Topic: D-3 Women 2019  (Read 1656 times)

Offline 2xfaux

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D-3 Women 2019
« on: August 25, 2019, 04:26:02 pm »
I am certainly ready to see some soccer.  After looking at the D-3 Sooccer "this is not a poll"  I was surprised to see Messiah at #2.  While I am sure the Falcons will be fine, I think they have some work to do before I can imagine them that high.

As I wandered down through the "not a poll" list and looked at schedules, I was struck by how few teams jumped off the deep end to start to season.  It seems to me the toughest schedules early on belong to Hopkins, William Smith and Wheaton (Ill.).  I understand that Nescac and the UAA have their own issues to deal with but other schools seem to have softened their early schedules.  This will sort it self out as the seaon goes on but it surprised me.

So..let's talk.



Offline cciw83

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2019, 05:03:40 pm »
I picked Christopher Newport last year to go all the way and they came close. I thought they were the most athletic team with Washington U. right behind them. The Williams team was not as athletic as they had been in the past, but they were the smartest and most disciplined team I have seen over the last several years, shutting down passing lanes, keeping shape and just playing the game simple.

That being said I find it hard to go against Williams repeating with the number of players returning, I keep thinking they won't be as strong, but every year they come back to the Finals.
I was tempted to pick Christopher Newport again, but the one returning starter loss is a huge one. Washington U. lost some really outstanding, athletic seniors. I don't know that it will be a rebuild, but that loss of talent will cause some time for them to sort things out. TCNJ is a team every year I think they might breakthrough, maybe this is the year. I always enjoy watching Messiah and they return enough players they should be in the mix.

It was a weird year for the UAA last year as it looked like they would have more teams going deeper. I just never felt Chicago found the right chemistry maybe this will be a bounce back year.  Here's hoping for any CCIW team to make a deep run, the usual suspects Wheaton and IWU return a lot of players.

I noticed the same thing about the softening of some team's schedules. I guess the worry of Strength of Schedule does not concern them as much as in the past.

Offline PlaySimple

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 12:46:21 pm »
I haven't kept up with the D3 scene as much as I have the past few years but I have some observations from what I have seen up to this point.

Some of these are in response to what cciw83 wrote here:


Washington U. lost some really outstanding, athletic seniors. I don't know that it will be a rebuild, but that loss of talent will cause some time for them to sort things out.

It was a weird year for the UAA last year as it looked like they would have more teams going deeper. I just never felt Chicago found the right chemistry maybe this will be a bounce back year.  Here's hoping for any CCIW team to make a deep run, the usual suspects Wheaton and IWU return a lot of players.


Wheaton - Wheaton is Wheaton. They are well-coached and have a lot of athletes. Sometimes they don't always play the most attractive soccer because they play very direct sometimes but it seems to work for them. They always put up a lot of shots in every game and they defend well. I'm always amazed at how many more shots Wheaton puts up compared to their opponents. Up to this point in the season Wheaton has 130 shots compared to 32 for the opposition. They've outscored their opponents 14-2. Something tells me that Pete Felske, the Wheaton coach, isn't pleased that the opposition has managed to put up 32 shots. 

In addition to being a very good coach, Felske is an excellent recruiter. He just keeps bringing in really good players. Recruiting is the life blood of any college team but as most know, with D3 soccer it is a bit more challenging and is vital. Those D3 programs that are able to snare players that could have potentially played at a higher level, D1 or whatever, are helping themselves tremendously. Not being a Christian, I always wondered how Felske was able to find the athletes that were OK with what a Christian school like Wheaton demanded. It's a dry campus, chapel is mandatory, there are religious study requirements, etc. However, Wheaton is an excellent academic school. In my previously narrow view I have thought that aspect of Wheaton would be a deterrent to get student-athletes but it must be an advantage.

We will get an idea of how good Wheaton is when they play at Wash U tomorrow, September 18, and at Chicago on September 24. Ii expect Wheaton to win the CCIW and I expect them to make a deep run in the tournament. They have Elite 8 and possibly Final 4 potential.

Washington University - As was stated, Wash U lost a lot of really good seniors from last year's team. There are still some solid players returning. There are some solid defenders as well as a potential All-American keeper. Jim Conlon is an excellent coach and I expect him to do well with what he has. I was a little surprised with the loss to St. Thomas and the draw with Hope but I would look for Wash U to make a good run in the tournament. Telling will be the game on September 18 vs Wheaton.

Chicago - Many are overlooking Chicago this year. They are a very deep team with a lot of talent. There is not a huge talent drop off when UC gets into the bench and in the OT games that may arise in the post- season, fresh legs can mean a lot. In their game against Illinois Wesleyan this past Saturday they managed 25 shots to IWU's 4. They are also very good at set plays and scored the bulk of their 6 goals vs IWU on set plays.  Amy Reifert is an excellent coach and recruiter. Of course, with U of Chicago being one of the finest academic institutions anywhere, she gets a lot of help in her recruiting efforts. Chicago vs Wheaton on September 24 will be a battle.

Illinois Wesleyan - IWU has nearly played themselves out of an automatic post-season bid and have put themselves into a position that they'll need to win the CCIW tournament to qualify for the NCAA. That is not a common occurrence for the Titans. It appears that IWU has many talented players but they don't appear to be well-coached. Dave Barrett was at IWU for many years and was a relentless recruiter that always managed to get talented players. I've heard that the new coach does not make much of an effort on the recruiting front and is relying on Barrett's recruits. The well will eventually dry up. The Titans have lost games this year that could have been won with better coaching.

I don't normally like to criticize coaching but it appears that the new coach, now in his 2nd year, may be in over his head. In the observations that I've made, he does not seem to make in-game adjustments well. IWU's biggest problems are that they can't hold possession, can't finish chances, and give up way too many goals on set pieces. Some of these are coaching issues. Possession is lost a lot due to not playing the ball out of the back and a lack of patience. IWU will almost always punt or kick the ball from the keeper into the midfield and the midfield usually turns it over. The defense is constantly under pressure because of this. The lack of finishing also greatly decreases possession because there appears to be no patience in building up an attack. Low percentage shots are taken from all over the field with the end result being a loss of possession. It is apparent that work needs to be done when marking on set pieces. Lastly, from what I saw in the Chicago game, IWU would not pressure UC high at all. When the Maroons' keeper had the ball there was no pressure on her. UC's defenders were easily dribbling the ball into their attacking 1/2 and even the attacking 1/3 and IWU was just letting them do it. Again, this is a coaching issue. It appears that IWU made a poor hire and it is hard to believe that he was the best available. Hopefully they'll rebound but it's not looking good. The coach came from a successful Lynchburg program so this is somewhat surprising. 

A few other quick notes because I'll probably run out of characters soon.

Otterbein - there are a lot of solid players at Ottebein but they had a surprising 5-4 loss vs Kenyon despite outshooting them by a wide margin. I'll pick Otterbein to win the OAC over Ohio Northern.

Ohio Northern - have tested themselves early and have done fairly well. They lost narrowly to Wheaton, 2-1, and managed to keep them under 20 shots. They've also beaten Carnegie Mellon and draw with Hope. Surprising, though, was a draw with Denison. They'll be in contention with Otterbein for the OAC title.

The NCAC (North Coast Athletic Conference) will only get one bid to the NCAA and that will be to the team that wins the tournament. There does not appear to be any one team that is that strong in the conference this year.

Offline WUPHF

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 12:00:44 am »
We will get an idea of how good Wheaton is when they play at Wash U tomorrow, September 18, and at Chicago on September 24.

I expect Wheaton to win the CCIW and I expect them to make a deep run in the tournament. They have Elite 8 and possibly Final 4 potential.

Washington University was in full control this afternoon with a lull here and there.  They are still finding an offensive identity, but this game could have been a 4-1 or 5-1 or more with a shots off the pipes and a point blank shot that sailed right.

Offline PlaySimple

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 10:54:46 am »


Washington University was in full control this afternoon with a lull here and there.  They are still finding an offensive identity, but this game could have been a 4-1 or 5-1 or more with a shots off the pipes and a point blank shot that sailed right.

I saw that result. While I wasn't entirely surprised that Wash U won, I was surprised with how many more shots they put up compared to Wheaton. The final tally was 25 shots for Wash U vs 4 for Wheaton. Funny that in my post above I made this comment: "I'm always amazed at how many more shots Wheaton puts up compared to their opponents."

After looking at the stats it was also surprising that it took the Bears 2 OT periods to put the winner in. It seems as if some work on finishing is needed. Thirteen of those 25 shots were on frame so either Wheaton has a really good keeper or those shots were hit directly to her.

I was wondering how Gabbie Cesarone is doing this year. I saw her play last year as a freshman and thought that she played with a lot more poise than a typical frosh. I was impressed. I had seen her play in club ball in high school with the Eclipse and could see that she would be good. She is one of those D3 players that could have played at the D1 level. Passing up a Wash U education is a hard thing to do, though.

The junior keeper, Emma Greenfield, is also really solid but due to the usually stout defense, she does not often get fully tested.

I'm looking forward to the Bears' game vs Emory next month. Emory looks they may have the pieces to contend in the UAA this season.

Offline WUPHF

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2019, 11:25:45 pm »
It is an interesting contrast to last season.  At this point in the season, Washington University had scored 25 goals. They would finish the season with 62 goals and 241 shorts on goal.

As for Gabbie Cesarone, you might find this worth the read: https://www.studlife.com/sports/2019/09/04/the-unbreakable-defense-chapter-two-gabbie-cesarone/

Offline PlaySimple

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 11:32:00 am »

As for Gabbie Cesarone, you might find this worth the read: https://www.studlife.com/sports/2019/09/04/the-unbreakable-defense-chapter-two-gabbie-cesarone/

Thank you for the link.

You probably saw the other article on the defense. It primarily mentions Emma Greenfield but the contrast of last year's team with this team is interesting. I noticed it when I was on the site that you posted the link of. If not, here is that article: https://www.studlife.com/sports/2019/08/29/greenfield-and-the-unbreakable-defense-of-womens-soccer/

I found this quote interesting because WashU and Wheaton just played: "The defenders clearly kept the goalie’s workload manageable. In eight of the Bears’ 22 games, Greenfield did not face any shots on goal. However, the keeper came up big when she had to, recording two saves in a 2-1 win against Emory, four saves in a 2-0 victory over the University of Chicago, and three saves in a nail-biter versus Wheaton in the Elite Eight."

In considering things, Wheaton picked up more players from last year and WashU lost some. It seems WashU's net losses were greater than Wheaton's. While the margin was one goal in both games, I really thought that the shots would be closer. I compared the shots between the two matches and WashU put up less last year in the Elite 8 game. In that game the Bears had 17 shots vs 25 this past week. Wheaton had one less shot this past week.

One thing I've noticed about Wheaton and the high number of shots that they put up, the game vs WashU notwithstanding, is that many of the shots are not on frame. This year is actually better for them in that regard but higher percentage shots would definitely be better. I made the same comment about IWU above. Taking random/early shots, without a lot of support, greatly decreases possession. Too many teams lack patience in this regard. I notice it in D1 womens's soccer also. It's not unique to D3 soccer. Also, not being sexist, the women do it more than the men it seems.


Offline WUPHF

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 07:56:28 pm »
+1 Thanks for the interesting posts!  Washington University vs Wheaton Men's Soccer is a few minutes away.  Wheaton proves to be a big game for the second time this week.

Offline 2xfaux

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2019, 05:32:49 pm »
Thanks to the D-3 soccer folks for interesting and informative updates on the women's games.  Halfway through the season and sadly, I haven't seen a game in person yet.  I have been able to watch a good bit on line and I haven't seen any team that looked like a definate "wow" yet.  Some good stuff but not "wow".

I have been surprised (and there is an interesting discussion about this on the Men's Nescac thread) by how much of the game is being played in the air.  I wonder if any others have noticed this.   

Offline discnerd

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2019, 02:26:25 pm »
Discnerd's top 25


RankingTeamRatingConference
1Pomona-Pitzer13.9338SCIAC
2Messiah12.1562MACC
3Arcadia11.8873MACC
4Gettysburg11.1246CC
5MIT8.96565NEWMAC
6Wheaton (Ill.)8.96412CCIW
7William Smith8.8545LL
8TCNJ8.65029NJAC
9Johns Hopkins8.62507CC
10Centre8.18013SAA
11Christopher Newport8.07453CAC
12Case Western Reserve7.29768UAA
13Washington U.7.25937UAA
14Chicago7.22526UAA
15Geneseo State6.42744SUNYAC
16Washington and Lee5.78351ODAC
17Middlebury5.32544NESCAC
18Randolph-Macon5.24855ODAC
19Stevens5.1403MACF
20McDaniel4.84154CC
21Chapman4.75734SCIAC
22Tufts4.62963NESCAC
23Rochester4.62739UAA
24Swarthmore4.28721CC
25Dickinson4.27038CC
Rating is found by having a large number of voters voting for their first place team.  Have each voter look at the outcome of a randomly chosen game their team has played.  They switch to the other team with a probability related to the margin of victory of the game.  Do that several thousand times for all voters and the distribution of voters settles to a steady state.  Rating is normalized so that each team starts with one voter.

Full rankings are linked to from the post that is linked in the title.

Offline discnerd

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2019, 11:26:10 am »
Discnerd's Top 25 (no blog post yet)


RankingTeamRatingConference
1Pomona-Pitzer13.6779SCIAC
2Messiah12.1952MACC
3Christopher Newport10.4828CAC
4Arcadia10.1628MACC
5Gettysburg9.50914CC
6MIT9.36312NEWMAC
7William Smith8.75069LL
8Washington U.8.7383UAA
9Wheaton (Ill.)8.15961CCIW
10TCNJ7.91765NJAC
11Johns Hopkins7.54119CC
12Chicago6.8022UAA
13Tufts6.3024NESCAC
14Centre6.27511SAA
15Dickinson5.77091CC
16Geneseo State5.76207SUNYAC
17Washington and Lee5.57908ODAC
18Haverford5.40503CC
19McDaniel4.91468CC
20Middlebury4.75055NESCAC
21Chapman4.7442SCIAC
22Stevens4.70425MACF
23St. Thomas4.36933MIAC
24Swarthmore4.15057CC
25Randolph-Macon4.03618ODAC

Offline discnerd

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2019, 02:31:48 pm »
Anyone know if any of the teams in the bottom group play any of the teams in the top group before the postseason?

My best hope is MIT or Tufts, but they only have conference games left.

Offline 2xfaux

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2019, 04:20:32 pm »
"I, in my great and unmatched wisdom" am not sure what to make of this or much of anything else right now.

Offline discnerd

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2019, 09:46:25 am »
An arrow between teams means that they have played each other.  In order to make predictions come tournament time, it would be nice if teams were connected by good opponents, just wondering if anyone here was aware of teams from that graph playing each other.

Offline 2xfaux

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Re: D-3 Women 2019
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2019, 05:15:18 pm »
Although there are much more important things going on in this crazy world right now, I did watch (on line) the Messiah v Arcadia game Wednesday.  I think I am right that this was the fourth Falcons/Knights match up in a row to go to 2-OT but this was special.  Arcadia played the last 60 plus minutes down a player.  The Falcons out shot the Knights 40/18 to 6/4 but the Arcadia keeper and her teammates came up huge.  The Arcadia players and their coaches put on a clinic on playing down.  It is hard to imagine that these two teams won't meet again in the conference tournament.  There is still a long way to go but this has become a very special rivalry.