LMU women’s soccer ranked No. 19 in United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, August 8, 2019

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Following a statement season, the Lincoln Memorial University women’s soccer team is beginning the 2019 campaign as one of the top 25 teams in the nation.

On Tuesday night, the Lady Railsplitters checked in at No. 19 in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Preseason National Poll after finishing the 2018 campaign slated one spot below it. (Rankings)

According to the women’s soccer archives, this marks the first time the Lady Railsplitters have been ranked since the 2005 team was in the preseason poll as No. 8 nationally.

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The 2018 Lady Railsplitters set the new standard for LMU women’s soccer as they finished with a 14-5-2 overall record, posting the program’s most wins since the 2007 team won 15 matches. Lincoln Memorial, who earned a regular-season runner-up finish after being picked ninth in the South Atlantic Conference preseason poll, also captured the second SAC Tournament title in program history and first since the 2007 season.

Those efforts led LMU back to the Sweet 16 for its first appearance in 11 seasons after the Lady Railsplitters took down Lander and No. 14-ranked Carson-Newman on consecutive days in penalty-kick shootout fashion in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament to earn the program’s first trip to the regional championship match since 2004.

Lincoln Memorial then nearly earned a berth to the national quarterfinals, but it suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to No. 3 Columbus State in the Southeast Regional title match.

After dropping an overtime loss to Anderson on Sep. 29, the Lady Railsplitters closed out the season with a 9-2-2 mark over their final 13 matches. Lincoln Memorial recorded six shutouts over that stretch while leading the SAC in goals against average (0.92) and shutouts (10) for the entire 2018 campaign.

The Lady Railsplitters had six players named to the All-SAC squad, led by first-team selections Jessica Cravero, Itzel Ballesteros, Alyssa Berry and Mariana Diaz. Cravero was tabbed as the SAC Freshman of the Year while head coach Sean Fraser was selected as the SAC Coach of the Year. Cravero, Ballesteros and Berry also earned spots on the CCA All-Southeast Region team.

Lincoln Memorial’s 2.10 goals per game average were the program’s highest since 2007 and the 0.92 goals against average was the lowest since 1998.