LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall women's soccer is looking to continued its trend of year-by-year improvement as the Diplomats aim for a return to Centennial Conference (CC) prominence in 2018.
A key group of seniors will be relied upon to anchor a talented roster made up primarily of first years or sophomores - as only seven out of 29 players on the roster are a junior or senior in class standing.
To watch a season preview video, featuring first-year head coach John Sumoski, click here.
A total of nine student-athletes who started in five or more games return to the pitch in 2018. That core group, combined with an 11-member first-year class, is expected to provide talent and depth to this year's roster.
F&M will need to make up for the loss of a seven-member senior class that featured All-CC First Team forward Reanna Leoni, whose 10 goals in 2017 were the most by a Diplomat since 2004.
To watch the 2018 video roster, click here.
Players to Watch
Defense figures to be a calling card for the 2018 Diplomats as All-CC Second Team defender Runko (14 starts) and All-CC Honorable Mention goalkeeper recipient Panayotakis (six shutouts) are welcomed back into the fold.
Only one starting member of last year's backline was lost to graduation as Kranis (16 starts), Byrne (15 starts), and Cunniffe (16 starts) will help spearhead a unit that surrendered multiple goals on just seven occasions last year. Graziano returns with the most experience at the midfield position, starting in 14 of 16 games a year ago.
The Road Ahead
F&M hosts back-to-back games to begin the 2018 season, welcoming Whitworth to Tylus Field on Friday, Aug. 31, before facing Covenant the following day at 1:00 p.m.
CC competition starts on the road Saturday, Sept. 15 at Muhlenberg. Conference Playoffs open with the First Round on Wednesday, Oct. 31, with the CC Championship slated for Sunday, Nov. 4.
Record Book Watch
Panayotakis enters her sophomore season with 84 career saves and already places 17th on the program's career list. Ami Sheinberg '87 leads the way with 509. Her six shutouts are tied for seventh. Amanda McGowan '13 tops the list with 19 in her storied career.
Sumoski Taking the Helm
John Sumoski was hired in March as the 11th head coach in the program's 37-year history. A 1992 graduate from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Sumoski spent the previous 16 years as the head coach of the women's soccer program at Wilkes University. He left as the program's all-time winningest coach, leading the Colonels to a 158-128-32 record including 14 trips to the MAC Freedom tournament, three trips to the ECAC Tournament, and an NCAA Tournament Berth in 2017.
He is joined on staff by new assistants Chris Ackerman and Dean Miller.
Centennial Conference Digital Network (CCDN)
The Centennial Conference announced a partnership with Stretch Internet to become the conference's digital network provider and establish a central location for all CC athletic events. Broadcasts that are present in the Stretch portal are exclusively produced by each of the 11-member institutions of the conference.
In addition to its Roku channel, the Conference has three new over-the-top (OTT) applications to make broadcasts available – Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Home broadcasts that are produced by all 11 members will be available on CentennialConference.TV and the OTT apps.
Follow Along (Social Media)
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season.