The Slippery Rock University women’s soccer team heads into the season looking for their 19th consecutive winning season. The Rock is coming off a successful season in which they finished 15-4-2, and won the Atlantic Regional Championship against California (Pennsylvania). The women are ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II national rankings, and are projected to finish first in the PSAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
Head coach Noreen Herlihy enters her 20th season with the Rock, and has a chance to join an elite group of Division II women’s soccer coaches this season. Herlihy, who has an overall record of 239-107-29, needs only 11 wins to join the 250 win club, which will make her the 11th coach in Division II women’s soccer history to join the club.
The Rock is returning 17 players from the 2013 roster, with eight of those players having seen significant time in the starting lineup last fall. Returning to Slippery Rock are the team’s two leading scorers from last year, sophomores Andrea Felix and Dara Demich, and also senior Nicole Krueger. Senior captain Ali Brosky also returns this season. Although there was some talk of her not returning for her last year of eligibility, she is back and will bring some experience to this young group.
Slippery Rock is bringing back some big pieces in the midfield from the 2013 unit. All-American Allison Harbart returns along with All-Region standout Leslie Henny. Returning starter Caitlin Binder and redshirt junior Brooke Edwards will bring some experience to the group as well.
The biggest questions left to answer for the team are defense and goaltending. The defense is welcomes back sophomores in Lynn Neef and Marissa Scullin, who each earned starting roles as freshmen last fall and look to replace all-stars Lauren Impey and Izabel Scott who graduated last spring. Sophomores Ariana Daukss and Megan Lenzi each bring experience, and welcome four incoming freshmen who look to push for starting jobs. The Rock loses their starting keeper from last season, Dana O’Neill, who is a PSAC all-time great posting 29 career shutouts.
She will be replaced by sophomore Annabelle Hegeman, who allowed only one goal in her 350 minutes of action last year, including three starts.
Henny believes her team will have the same success as last year as long as the team sticks together and the younger players get in sync with the older players, which she believes will not be a problem.
“We have a good sophomore goalkeeper who played well in her playing time last year and should have no problems adjusting to the starting lineup,” Henny said.
The Rock women open the regular season at Millersville University on September 4.