Towson, Md. - The votes are in and The Catholic University of America women's soccer team is ranked No. 1 by the Landmark Conference head coaches in the 2015 preseason poll.
The Catholic women's soccer team returns 22 of their 2014 Landmark Championship rosters. Nine starters, of the unbeaten conference team (8-0-1), return to the pitch including First Team All-Landmark and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Mid-Atlantic Regional selections Lexi Halperin, Sarah Madden, and Kirsten Wosleger. Last season Halperin led the Landmark with a 0.67 goals against average while Wosleger notched points in 11 consecutive games. Along with CUA's returners, head coach J.P. Sousa has added six additional players to the 2015 roster.
"I believe that people will see a team that demonstrates the will to win a championship this fall. We will approach every game we play with the same passion, style, and desire to win that was on display last year, said Sousa. "With the majority of our roster returning in 2015, along with some very talented new players, it is safe to say that we have very high expectations."
The Cardinals received six first place votes for 67 points in the Landmark preseason poll. The University of Scranton notched the second place spot with 48 points followed by Elizabethtown College with 46 points. During the 2014 regular season Catholic topped E-town 1-0 and took down Scranton 2-1 in overtime. CUA met Scranton in the conference finals last season and out played the Royals, 1-0, for the 2014 Landmark Championship title.
"I expect very close, hard-fought games against Scranton and E-town," said Sousa. "We have to play both regular season games on the road this year, so that will be an added challenge, but it's a challenge we will be ready for."
CUA women's soccer will kick off their 2015 campaign home against Hood College on Tuesday, September 1 at 4:30 p.m. The Cards will then head to Hackettstown, N.J. for the Cyclone Classic, with a game on Saturday, September 5 against host, Centenary College, and another matchup Sunday, September 6, versus Misericordia University. Throughout the season, Catholic will also match up against former Capital Athletic Conference rivals Salisbury, Mary Washington, and St. Mary's (Md.).
"Our annual non-conference opponents from the CAC are always fun to play against," said Sousa. "Additional big non-conference opponents for us will be Misericordia and Stevenson as both were NCAA tournament teams a year ago."
Landmark Conference play will commence on Saturday, September 26 as CUA travels to Elizabethtown, Pa., to take on the Blue Jays at 1 p.m. The Cards return home to host Moravian at CUA Soccer Field on Saturday, October 3 at 1 p.m., and will wrap up league play on the road Saturday, October 31 in Huntingdon, Pa., versus Juniata at 3:30 p.m.
"We look forward to all Landmark Conference games. We respect all of our opponents in the league and know from past experiences that nothing can be taken for granted when playing each game," said Sousa. "Our student-athletes are really excited to get things started for the 2015 season. I can tell that the energy is high right now, and we intend to keep that going until November."