The Herons celebrate the winning goal that sent them to the national semifinals
On the field and in the classroom, the Heron Soccer Team Dominates
by Ken DeBolt
The William Smith soccer team enjoyed unprecedented success this fall. Four Herons were named Capital One Academic All-Americans, a league-high 13 Herons (72%) earned Liberty League All-Academic honors, and Jessica Tarantino ’12 earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award.
The Elite 89 Award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average at each NCAA Championship. The first Heron to earn the award, Tarantino was one of four student-athletes with a 4.0 at the 2011 championship, as was her twin sister Sarah ’12.
The Capital One Academic All- America teams are selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America and recognize the best student-athletes in the nation. Prior to this season, William Smith had just three soccer Academic All- Americans: Julie Perry ’89, a two-time honoree; Kim Rausch ’98, the only first team pick; and Laura Burnett-Kurie ’08. In 2011, defender Alyse DiCenzo ’12 and Jessica Tarantino represented the Herons on the first team, while Sarah Tarantino garnered second team honors and midfielder Jamie Sawyer ’12 earned third team recognition.
William Smith put more student-athletes on the 2011 Academic All-America teams than any other school in the nation and was one of only two schools to place two players on the first team (Johns Hopkins is the other).
“Academically, this season surpasses anything we’ve done as a team,” says Head Coach Aliceann Wilber. “I don’t think we’ve had another team who’s equaled the brain wattage of this group.”
Oh, by the way, the Herons had a pretty good year on the pitch as well. How good?
This year’s team broke or matched season records for wins (20), shutouts (19), goals against average (0.14) and fewest goals allowed (3). William Smith didn’t allow a single goal in September and yielded only one opposition tally in the months of October, November and December.
The Herons led the nation in GAA, shutout percentage (.864), and save percentage (.919). The on-field general of this stingy D was goalie Amanda Davis ’12. The Liberty League Player of the Year led the nation in GAA (0.14) and ranked fifth in save percentage (.912). Davis became the 19th Heron to be named an NSCAA first team All-American, six more than any other Division III women’s soccer program.
Midfielder Whitney Frary ’13 also garnered All-America recognition with a second team nod. She led the team with six assists and ranked second with nine goals and 24 points.
Six Herons were selected to the All-East team with Davis, Frary, Sawyer, and Jessica Tarantino earning first team honors while DiCenzo and Dineo Mmutla ’15 netted second team recognition. Mmutla led the Herons with 12 goals and 28 points.
William Smith went unbeaten in Liberty League play for the fifth consecutive season, capturing the regular season and tournament titles. The Herons made a record 22nd NCAA tournament appearance, topping Lancaster Bible 6-0 in the first round and Wheaton (Mass.) 1-0 in the second. William Smith trailed Middlebury early in the sectional semifinals but rallied for a 2-1 win and booked its third trip to the national semifinals in four seasons with an anticlimactic 4-0 rout of Williams in the sectional championship.
While eventual national champion Messiah halted the Herons’ hopes for a national championship, it took a near perfect strike in the 70th minute to lift the Falcons to victory.
The 10 members of the Class of 2012 went 68-9-12 over the past four seasons, the most wins for a graduating class since the Class of 1990 (70) and the highest winning percentage (.831) since the Class of 1995 (.833). This year’s seniors boast a legacy that includes a 23-0-5 record in conference play and four consecutive league championships.
“We hope that the legacy they created while they were here is to really be competitors, to find ways to fight and win games,” says Wilber. “I think that’s the stamp they put on the program since they were starting as first-years. We hope the players that remain have learned that from them.”
Of course, Wilber was the architect of all of this success. The Division III leader in career wins (443 and counting) was named the NSCAA East Region Coach of the Year for the eighth time in her illustrious career.
Success wasn’t the exclusive domain of Heron soccer, the Colleges also earned NCAA bids in field hockey, football, and men’s soccer while Heron Emily D’Addario ’13 ran in the NCAA Cross Country Championship. Only Salisbury matched the Colleges’ success by gaining bids to all four team tournaments, but the Seagulls failed to keep pace, missing out on an NCAA cross country run.
FIELD HOCKEY (16-5, 5-1 Liberty League)
The Herons began the season with a six-match winning streak and climbed as high as No. 13 in the NFHCA Coaches Poll. Led by All-American Kiersten Hamilton ’12, William Smith enjoyed a five-game improvement over a year ago finishing second in the Liberty League and earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Herons defeated Washington & Jefferson 2-0 in the first round before falling to eventual national champion TCNJ 2-1.
Head Coach Sally Scatton was named the NFHCA Regional Coach of the Year and Hamilton (9 gls-5 assts-23 pts), Annie Kietzman ’13 (9-11-29), Taylor Cappello ’14 (15-3-33), and Melanie O’Connor ’14 (5-6-16) earned all-region accolades.
FOOTBALL (7-2, 5-1 Liberty League)
Hobart was 7-2 this season, earning a share of its seventh Liberty League Championship with a 5-1 record. Hobart earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs by virtue of a 41-24 win over co-champion Union. The Statesmen dropped a heart-breaking 35-28 decision in the first round at No. 7 Wesley.
Head Coach Mike Cragg and his assistants were voted the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year. Linebacker Devin Worthington ’14 and defensive end Tyre Coleman ’15 headlined 14 Statesmen earning all- conference honors by bringing home the Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards, respectively. Cornerback Drake Woodard ’12 capped his career with first team All-East honors from D3football.com while offensive tackle Brendan Hatlee ’12, Worthington, and Coleman were selected to the second team. Coleman led the nation in sacks through the end of the regular season and finished the year second with 13, one off the season record set by David Russell ’98.
Both Sam Blouin ’12 and Arielle deLisser ’14 appeared in the singlehanded championships for the second straight season. In the waters off Chicago this year, Blouin posted five top-three finishes, including a pair of wins, to finish eighth out of 18, up seven spots from his 2010 showing. After a bumpy start, deLisser consistently sailed in the top five, ending up sixth in the final standings.
HOBART SOCCER (16-4, 6-2 Liberty League)
Led by a talented and deep senior class, the Hobart soccer team posted the second most wins in school history, climbing as high as ninth in the nation in the coaches’ poll. The Statesmen won seven in a row to start the year and finished the campaign second in the Liberty League standings thanks to a dramatic 2-1 overtime win against RIT. Unfortunately, the Tigers were also Hobart’s conference semifinal opponent, rebounding with a 2-0 victory. The regular season was strong enough to earn the Statesmen their sixth NCAA invite, but Penn State slipped by Hobart 1-0 in the first round.
Three Statesmen, Tommy Hayes ’12, Charlie Hale ’12, and Caetano Sanchez ’13, were named to the NSCAA All-East teams while Lukas Petersen ’12 and Alex Kittelberger ’13 earned Capital One Academic All-District honors.
D’Addario switched gears this fall and became just the second Heron to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship race. The Liberty League Cross Country Rookie of the Year produced five victories and three course records. D’Addario logged her best 6-kilometer time of the season in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championship, crossing the finish line in 22:19.6 to finish seventh in a field of 256 runners. At nationals, she was 135th out of 277.