Buffalo, NY - The Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) released their fall 2019 preseason polls early this week with women's soccer, men's soccer, and women's volleyball all expected to compete for the postseason.
Coming off a third place finish in the AMCC last season, five all-conference selections, defensive player and coach of the year honors, and an AMCC semi-final playoff appearance, the D'Youville women's soccer team is again expected to stand as one of the best teams in the conference. The Spartans are again pegged to finish third, voted on by opposing coaches, as they fall behind Penn State-Behrend (1) and Mount Aloysius (2) - the top two teams from 2018.
Head coach Jim Hesch returns for his fourth season in charge of the women and is the reigning AMCC Coach of the Year. Three of his returners were all-conference players last season in junior forward Makenna Magee (Ellenburg Center, NY/Northern Adirondack), junior center back Dominique Riforgiato (Fredonia, NY/Fredonia), and sophomore midfielder Maggie Leeds (Lockport, NY/Akron). Magee was a second team all-conference player for the second year in a row as Riforgiato and Leeds made third team for the first time each.
In addition to the talented trio of all-conference players, the team has a strong senior class led by midfielder Brittany Cristofanelli (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) and defender/midfielder Marina Campbell (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara Catholic). They are joined by midfielder Kaylee Heschke (Newfane, NY/Newfane) and defenders Jordyn Riedel (Marilla, NY/Iroquoius) and Rachel McMahan (Grand Island, NY/Sacred Heart Academy).
After making the playoffs for two consecutive seasons for the first time in program history, the D'Youville men's soccer team enters 2019 with a deep and talented roster and looked at as a team to make a third consecutive trip to the postseason. The men were voted on by opposing coaches to finish sixth in the conference after tying for fifth last season. Penn State-Behrend (1), Medaille (2), and Mount Aloysius (3) were chosen as the top three teams to beat - the same order in which they finished last season.
Brendan Murphy enters his seventh season in charge of the men and has built arguably his deepest team yet. Of his returning players, senior forward Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport) was a first team all-conference selection nin 2018 after a 2017 second team all-conference honor. He will lead the front line with senior midfielder Marco Ciccarelli (Webster, NY/Webster-Schroeder), but they will have help with newcomers in freshman Noah Steele (Heuvelton, NY/Heuvelton), junior Nick Dumond (Lockport, NY/Starpoint), and junior Mwibeleca Tumba (Congo/Fraternity Institute).
At the other end of the field, a veteran group will fill out a strong defense. Senior defender AJ Wade (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) is the most veteran of the group that also returns center back Matt Davis (Spencerport, NY/Spencerport), outside back Jake Kowalewski (Attica, NY/Attica), and goalkeeper Kyle Dick (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili). The quartet will be counted on to be the backbone of the team and continue their strong play from last season.
Following a 2018 that saw turnover at the top of the program, the 2019 D'Youville women's volleyball team is ready to take on the remainder of the AMCC as they are expected to compete for a playoff spot this season. D'Youville was voted by the opposing coaches in the AMCC to finish seventh overall - the same finish they posted last season. Pitt.-Bradford (T1), Penn State-Behrend (T1), and Mount Aloysius (3) were voted as the top three teams to beat in the conference and were the top three teams in 2018.
Leading the way this season will be Cathy Hummel - her second season in charge of the program. Two blossoming sophomores were pegged as two players to watch for the women in Libero Desiree Walters (Oswego, IL/Oswego) and middle hitter Carly Milleville (Niagara Falls, NY/Niagara-Wheatfield) as the two youngsters rose to the occasion last season and became leaders for a youthful squad.
Seniors McKenna Cartonia (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) and Samantha Murray (Hamburg, NY/Frontier) will be key players for the Spartans in their final year with the team. Juniors Talia Wright (Derby, NY/Lake Shore) and Lauren Conley (Scotia, NY/Scotia-Glenville) will also be key players on the roster as they became big players for the team in 2018.