Maine Maritime Predicted to Win the 2019 NAC Women's Soccer Title

Maine Maritime Academy received six first-place votes and 77 points to claim the top spot in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) 2019 Women's Soccer preseason poll. Thomas finished in second place with 67 points, while the 2018 NAC Champions, UMaine-Farmington, snagged two first-place votes and 64 points for third. Husson earned the final first-place vote and 61 points to secure fourth.

New to the NAC, SUNY Delhi landed in the middle with 41 points and fifth place. SUNY Canton tallied 35 points and sixth place, and NVU-Johnson earned seventh place with 27 points. UMaine-Presque Isle (17 points) and NVU-Lyndon (16 points) finished in eighth and ninth place, respectively. Head coaches vote in the preseason poll.

The 2019 season is shaping up to be a very competitive year. Maine Maritime placed five players on the 2018 All-Conference First Team, including Player of the Year, Makayla Lewis, and Defensive Player of the Year, Susana DeFrank. Thomas players earned three spots, UMaine-Farmington earned two, and Husson filled the final place on the First Team. More then half of the All-Conference First and Second Team players are returning to the pitch for another season.

In the tournament last year, #4 Husson defeated #5 SUNY Canton, 3-0, in a quarterfinal matchup before falling to top-seeded Thomas, 2-1, in the semifinal round. UMaine-Farmington (UMF) won the 2018 NAC Women's Soccer Championship as the third-seed heading into the tournament. They were also picked to finish third in the preseason poll. The Beavers defeated #6 NVU-Johnson, 5-0,  in a quarterfinal game, and then upset both the #2 seed, Maine Maritime (1-0, semifinals) and the #1 seed, Thomas College (3-1, finals) to claim the NAC title. UMF advanced to the NCAA national championship tournament, where they lost in the first round to the eventual national runner-up, Middlebury.

All nine teams open the 2019 season over Labor Day Weekend. Conference matchups begin on September 14 and continue through October. The top six teams will qualify for the 2019 conference championship tournament, which begins with quarterfinal games on the first weekend in November. The semifinal and championship games are on November 9-10, at the site of the top seed. The NAC champion will advance to the 2019 NCAA women's soccer tournament. Follow the conference championship tournament with live stats and video HERE.

Click HERE to view the 2019 composite schedule and HERE for the NAC Women's Soccer Archives.

Click the school names below to visit team pages, and read on for team previews.

 

 

1. MAINE MARITIME -  77 pts. (6 first-place votes)

Seth Brown enters his seventh season as the Head Coach for the Mariners (11-4-1, 6-1 NAC). After advancing to the NAC semifinal round last season, the Mariners will attempt to build on that success in 2019. The squad returns three 2018 NAC First Team selections, junior goal keeper Emily Conway (Charleston, S.C.), senior midfielder Eryn Doiron (Wilton, Maine) and sophomore midfielder Margot Simeon (Findlay, Ohio). Maine Maritime will open up the 2019 season at home on Friday, August 30 against Berry College. 

 
   

2. THOMAS -  67 pts.

The 2018 NAC Coach of the Year, Deb Biche-Labbe enters her ninth season on the Thomas (11-5-1, 6-0-1 NAC) sideline. The Terriers welcome back 2018 NAC Rookie of the Year Katherine Hoving (Bristol, Maine), as well as fellow All-Conference First Team players Cassie Contigiani (Belmont, N.H.) and Taznae Fubler (Smith's, Bermuda). Returning junior forward Nikki Bradstreet (Topsham, Maine) will help round out the potent Terrier offense. Thomas is poised to build on last season's most successful performance in recent history. They open the season at home against the University of Southern Maine on August 30.
 

 
   

3. UMAINE-FARMINGTON - 64 pts. (2 first-place votes)

Mollie Wilke returns for her 12th season with the Beavers (8-13, 5-2 NAC). The defending NAC Champions return a strong veteran core in the defensive line, and will receive immediate contributions from first-year players to make a strong unit in 2019. Players to watch include senior defenders Morgann Tortorella (Waterville, Maine) and Eden LeBlanc (Dayton, Maine), as well as junior forward McKenna Brodeur (Oakland, Maine). The first game for UMF is September 4 at home against Saint Josephs (Maine.).

 
   

4. HUSSON - 61 pts. (1 first-place vote)

In her fifth year at the helm of the Husson program (6-10-1, 4-2-1 NAC), Amanda Cummings seeks another run in the NAC championship tournament with seven newcomers and a full roster of 19 returning players. Three experienced midfielders in All-NAC Second Team sophomore Mackenzie St. Pierre (Waterville, Maine), senior Alli Carey (Plymouth, N.H.), and junior Bri Saulter (Hermon, Maine) will help direct the Eagles on the pitch. Husson opens up their season on September 1st at Saint Joseph's College (Maine).

 
   

5. SUNY DELHI - 41 pts.

New to the NAC this fall, but no stranger to success, SUNY Delhi is poised to make an impact. The 2018 USCAA Division II Coach of the Year & American Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) Coach of the Year, Lauren Mackay enters her third season with the Broncos (11-4). Delhi reached the ACAA semifinals last fall, and returns two USCAA All-Americans to the roster, including sophomore Olivia Curry (Farmingdale, N.Y.), who led a defense that allowed just 18 goals, with five shutouts, in 2018. Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Innes (North Babylon, N.Y.) led the team with 30 points on 12 goals and six assists, and was named the 2018 ACAA Rookie of the Year. The Broncos travel to Alfred State on August 30 to kickoff the season.

 
   

6. SUNY CANTON - 35 pts.

SUNY Canton (4-12-1, 2-4-1 NAC) enters its second season in the NAC under fifth-year Head Coach Rose Lucidi. The team returns two of the top three scorers from last year in All-NAC Second Team midfielder Madison Rowe (Brushton, N.Y.) and midfielder Sarah Riedel (Webster, N.Y.). Coach Lucidi expects big things from several newcomers, including goalkeeper Victoria Hanna (Malone, N.Y.), defenders Hanlon Crane (Red Hook, N.Y.) and Paige Gotch (Rome, N.Y.), and forwards MaCailla Allen (Russell, N.Y.) and Autumn Kunes (Bristol, N.Y.). Canton travels to Wells College on August 30 for the first match of 2019.

 
   

7. NVU-JOHNSON - 27 pts.

Head Coach Andrew Lafrenz enters his fourth year leading the NVU-Johnson (7-10, 2-5 NAC) women's soccer program. Lafrenz returns eight players from the 2018 season, including senior defender Christina Wheelock, who scored three goals on only four shots last year. The squad also welcomed in a full recruiting class that is expected to make an immediate impact to the Badgers lineup. NVU-Johnson opens the 2019 season at home against Vermont Tech on August 31.

 
   

8. UMAINE-PRESQUE ISLE - 17 pts.

UMaine-Presque Isle (2-13, 0-7) women's soccer begins a new chapter with first-year head coach Aaron Marston. The Owls return key midfielder Hanna Nadeau (Saint David, Maine) as well as seven other players who saw considerable playing time last season. The Owls will also welcome 12 new players to the roster, including 10 first-year student athletes. This young Owls roster is looking forward to the 2019 season, which begins on the road at Vermont Tech on September 2.

 
   

9. NVU-LYNDON -16 pts.

Katy Ebner leads the Lyndon sideline (5-9-1, 1-5-1 NAC) for the third season in 2019. The Hornets will continue to build upon last year's success, in which the program won the most games in a season since 2011. A pair of third-year players, midfielder Jessica Hillman (Gardiner, ME) and defender Kelsey Holland (Pembroke, NH) are expected to provide veteran leadership, while freshman newcomer Rachel Palladino (Manilus, N.Y.) is expected to make an immediate impact. The Hornets open the season at home against Rivier on August 31.