GENEVA — Summer has flown by.
In less than two weeks, athletic training camps will be underway at local colleges.
One of those sports is William Smith soccer, who begin their quest for a remarkable, 13th straight Liberty League Championship.
This past Tuesday, the United Soccer Coaches Poll released its preseason rankings and listed the Herons as No. 5 in the country.
16 players are returning from last year’s dominant squad, including All-American defender Emilie Sauvayre.
Also returning are three out of the five top goal scorers from 2018-19.
Last year, the Herons cruised to their 17th Liberty League championship after dismantling St. Lawrence 3-0 and RIT by a score of 1-0.
William Smith’s overall record was 17-3-1 and they outscored opponents 40-9 throughout the entire season. They finished the season ranked 13th in the nation with a goals against average of .420.
Last year’s squad made it to the quarterfinals of the NCAA DIII tournament and were barely edged out by Williams College in PK’s. Williams would go on to win the National Championship.
The Herons will be poised to once again defend their Liberty League title and seek their first National Championship since the 2013-14 season and third overall.
Head Coach Aliceann Wilber will begin her 40th season at William Smith with a DIII record of 572 wins. The six-time National Coach of the Year will look to lead William Smith to their third National Championship.
The Herons will open the season on the road in Abilene, Texas when they compete in the 2019 Hardin-Simmons tournament that begins on August 30th. The Cowboys are ranked No. 10 in the nation and were beaten by the Herons 2-0 last year.
Their home opener will be against No. 7 Messiah College on September 7th, a team who they beat 1-0 last season.
Two games that will certainly be circled on their calendar is University of Rochester and No. 6 Misericordia University. Two of their three losses last year came to both teams and this year they will play them in back-to-back weeks.
The other loss they suffered came at the hands of Liberty League rival, Vassar College, who they will play on the road October 12th.