CORTLAND, N.Y. - The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) has released its 2018 women's soccer preseason coaches poll and the Geneseo Knights were voted No. 1 with a total of 80 points. Cortland was voted No. 2 with 69 points while Plattsburgh and Oneonta are tied in the third spot with 62 points each.
In 2017, Geneseo won their third SUNYAC title under current head coach, Nate Wiley. The top seeded Knights beat Plattsburgh, 4-0, in the championship game and made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament where they lost to Johns Hopkins, 2-0. Geneseo had five players on the SUNYAC All-Conference first team last season, including the Defensive Player of the Year, Leah Greene. The 2017 SUNYAC Rookie of the Year, Ellie Gregory, returns to help the Knights fight for their second straight conference title.
Voted in the second spot, the Cortland Red Dragons will be looking to surpsass last year's finish where they ended their season in the semifinals of the SUNYAC tournament with a loss to Plattsburgh, 3-0. Heidi Axtell will be entering her 15th season as head coach and will look to return the SUNYAC crown to Cortland for the first time since 2012. The team's best finish under Axtell was 2011 when the Red Dragons were ranked fifth nationally and reached the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA tournament.
Plattsburgh, tied for No. 3 in the preseason poll, finished the 2017 regular season ranked No. 2 after going 6-1-2 in the conference. The Cardinals reached the SUNYAC title game for the first time since 2010, where they were defeated 4-0 by Geneseo. Plattsburgh has not won the SUNYAC title since 1998, but will look to build on the success of last season. The Cardinals lost senior striker Madeline Saccoccio who was named the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year.
The Oneonta Red Dragons won less than 10 games for only the third time in the past ten seasons, posting an 8-10-1 overall record in 2017. Going into the SUNYAC tournament ranked No. 5 Oneonta defeated Postdam 2-1 in double OT in the first round. The Red Dragons were defeated by Geneseo in the semifinal match, 2-1. Midfielder Seaver Lipshie was voted first team all-conference last year and returns for her senior season. Oneonta holds the record for most SUNYAC women's soccer titles with 13 overall.
1. Geneseo, 80
2. Cortland, 69
3. Plattsburgh, 62
5. Brockport, 45
6. Postdam, 41
7. Oswego, 34
8. New Paltz, 25
9. Buffalo State, 20
10. Fredonia, 12