One of the stronger conferences in the nation, boasting five teams in the top 50 of our pre-season rankings, Coach Wilber and the Herons of William Smith continue to be the team to beat in the Liberty League. Both St. Lawrence and RPI return some powerhouse starters from last season, and can’t be overlooked.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
WILLIAM SMITH (HERONS)
LOCATION: Geneva (NY)
COACH: Aliceanne Wilber (496-125-55 in 35 seasons, 9 Liberty League titles, 2 NCAA Championships)
2014 RECORD: 16-3-1
2014 CONF. RECORD: 8-0 (1st in the Liberty League)
2014 POSTSEASON: Lost 2-1 to NCNJ in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, after topping Keane State 5-0 in the opening round.
THE CORNERSTONE: Sr./D Zoe Jackson Smith (2 goals, 3 assists, backline 0.45 goal against avg., 2014 Liberty League Defensive Performer of the Year, All-Liberty League 1st team).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Jr./F Kara Shue (7 goals, 12 assists, 26 points, All-Liberty 1st team); Jr./F Krista Longo (10 goals, 5 assists, 25 points).
Outlook: With 25 NCAA tournament appearances in the last 30 years, and 12 Liberty League Championships in the past 20, the Herons are always in the mix at the end of the season. With the return of Liberty Defensive Performer of the Year Zoe Jackson Smith, along with offensive specialist Kara Shue, this year really looks to be no exception.
ST. LAWRENCE (SAINTS)
LOCATION: Canton (NY)
COACH: Franco Bari (67-40-16 in 7 seasons)
2014 RECORD: 4-3-1
2014 CONF. RECORD: 12-6-2 (3rd in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Sr./GK Kelsey West (9 shutouts, 0.79 GAA, All-Liberty 1st team, Team MVP).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./MF Emily Depoy (5 goals, 3 assists, 13 points, All-Liberty 1st team); So./F/M Kaleigh White (7 goals, All-Liberty 2nd team); Sr./D Adrianna Morra (All-Liberty HM).
OUTLOOK: The Saints advanced to the Liberty League Championship for the first time in school history in 2014. Riding a defense that produced nine shutouts, and .085 GAA last season will be key for Coach Bari’s unit to succeed again this fall.
RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITURE – RPI (ENGINEERS)
LOCATION: Troy (NY)
COACH: Greg Cathell (13-5-2 in first season at RPI)
2014 RECORD: 13-5-2
2014 CONF. RECORD: 6-2 (2nd in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: So./GK Tori Riopelle (69 saves, 6 shutouts, 0.67 GAA, 2014 Liberty Rookie of the Year).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./D Shelby Stromerson (All-Liberty 1st Team); Jr./F Cori Winslow (All-Liberty 2nd Team). So./D Stephanie May (All-Liberty HM).
OUTLOOK: Watch for the Engineers to look to their defense to make a return to the post-season in 2015, with All-Liberty Rookie of the Year Tori Riopelle between the pipes. Protected by strong defense from Shelby Stromerson and Stephanie May, both All-Liberty selections, RPI should be right in the hunt come late October.
LOCATION: Schenectady (NY)
COACH: Brian Speck (272-79-22 in 20 seasons, 5 season championships, 3 conference tournament championships)
2014 RECORD: 11-4-2
2014 CONF. RECORD: 3-3-2 (5th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Sr./D Breana Derella (4 goals, 2 assists, 10 points, team captain, All-Liberty HM).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./D Jessica Farland (1 goal, 1 assist, 3 points).
OUTLOOK: With the loss of four All-Liberty players to graduation, coach Brian Speck will look to his captains, seniors Breana Derella and Jessica Farland, along with junior defender Victoria Marotta to provide the leadership for the Dutchwomen to reach the post-season.
ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – RIT (TIGERS)
LOCATION: Rochester (NY)
COACH: Liz Masterson (48-30-15 in 5 seasons, 2012 Liberty League Coach of the Year)
2014 RECORD: 8-5-5
2014 CONF. RECORD: 3-3-2 (4th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Jr./D Emily Shoemaker (All-Liberty HM).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./F Quincey Ornellas (3 goals, 2 assists, 8 points); Sr./MF Elizabeth May (2 goals, 1 assist, 5 points).
OUTLOOK: RIT will need to replace an All-American goal-keeper for the 2015 season, with All-Liberty selection Emily Schoemaker anchoring the back-line. The Tigers will need to rely on offensive threats Quincey Ornellas and Elizabeth May to keep the ball in offensive zone.
LOCATION: Poughkeepsie (NY)
COACH: Corey Holton (8-6-3 in first season at Vassar)
2014 RECORD: 8-6-3
2014 CONF. RECORD: 2-3-3 (6th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: So./D Jessica Schwed (2 assists, 2 points, All-Liberty HM).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: So./F Katie Voegtlin (2 goals, 4 assists, 8 points); So./MF Amand McFarland (2 goals, 3 assists, 7 points).
OUTLOOK: The Brewers finished the 2014 season 6-0-2 on their home turf, and will look to match last season’s. VC will play nine games at Gordon Field this season, while traveling to play eight combined away and neutral site games. Returning are two of the three top scorers from last season’s campaign.
LOCATION: Saratoga Springs (NY)
COACH: Lacey Largeteau (39-37-9 in 4 seasons)
2014 RECORD: 5-9-2
2014 CONF. RECORD: 2-4-2 (7th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Jr./MF Emily Salterman (6 goals, 12 points).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./MF Erin Barry (1 goal, 2 points).
Outlook: The Thoroughbreds lose just two players tallying scoring points last season, and will look to build on some of the young talent coach Lacey Largeteau had brought in for the fall.
CLARKSON (GOLDEN KNIGHTS)
LOCATION: Potsdam (NY)
COACH: Sarah Raymond (25-26-5 in 4 seasons, 2011 Liberty League Coach of the Year)
2014 RECORD: 6-10-1
2014 CONF. RECORD: 2-5-1 (8th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Jr./MF Kanoe Eichholz (1 goal, 2 assists, 4 points, All-Liberty 2nd Team).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./F Nikki Carfi (4 goals, 3 assists, 11 points).
OUTLOOK: Clarkson has recorded more conference wins in the last two years than any other two-year span in the last two decades. Under the guidance of Sarah Raymond the Golden Knights have allowed just 71 goals in 66 games. Returning All-Liberty selection Kanoe Eichholz leads the charge, with senior Nikki Carfi looking to put up some strong numbers in her final year.
LOCATION: Annadale-on-Hudson (NY)
COACH: Bill Kelly (40-65-9 in 6 seasons, 2009 Liberty League Coach of the Year)
2014 RECORD: 5-11-2
2014 CONF. RECORD: 0-7-1 (9th in the Liberty League)
THE CORNERSTONE: Sr./D-MF Margot Kalach Hanono (All-Liberty HM).
THE SUPPORTING CAST: Sr./MF Isabel Keddy-Hector (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points); So./F Avalon Qian (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points); Sr./F Abby Labrecque (5 goals, 1 assist, 11 points).
OUTLOOK: The Raptors return all three top scorers from their 2014 roster, along with All-Liberty selection Margot Kalach Hanono. Coach Bill Kelly will be looking to put it all together and get some Liberty conference wins this fall.