W&L Women's Soccer Picked Second in ODAC Preseason Poll

FOREST, Va. – The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) released its 2010 women’s soccer preseason poll on Friday morning and Washington and Lee was picked to finish second in the voting, receiving two first-place votes.

Lynchburg, who advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division III women’s soccer tournament, received 9-of-12 first place votes on the way to 140 total points. W&L received two first-place votes and 129 points, while Virginia Wesleyan rounded out the first-place vote recipients with one vote and 126 points. Roanoke (105) and Randolph-Macon (93) completed the top five spots, followed by Bridgewater (85), Eastern Mennonite (67), Guilford (60), Emory & Henry (54), Hollins (35), Sweet Briar (23) and Randolph (19).

The Generals are coming off a 2009 campaign where they posted a 17-2-3 (9-0-2 ODAC) record and captured the third ODAC championship in program history. W&L advanced to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament, where it fell to Lynchburg, 2-0, in the second round.

Headlining the returnees are two All-America recipients in the backfield, junior goalkeeper Emily Leary (Cincinnati, Ohio/Kings) and junior defender Kat Lawson (White Post, Va./Clarke County). Both players were well recognized in the postseason, with Leary receiving Second Team NSCAA All-America, ODAC Player of the Year and First Team All-ODAC, NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region and VaSID College Division All-State laurels. Leary appeared in 21 games, finishing the season with a league-best 13 shutouts while posting a 0.54 goals-against average and 55 saves.  Lawson became the first-ever W&L women’s soccer player to be named a NSCAA First Team All-American while also collecting First Team All-ODAC and NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region honors, in addition to Second Team VaSID College Division All-State honors. A transfer from Colgate, she started all 22 games in her first season with the Generals, scoring three points (1g, 1a) and helping the defense post an impressive 0.50 goals-against average for the season.

On the offensive end, W&L returns its top two scorers from last season, junior midfielder/forward Allie Espina (Gaithersburg, Md./Good Counsel) and sophomore midfielder Ainsley Daigle (Lafayette, La./Episcopal School of Acadiana). Espina appeared in 21 games with 19 starts last season and led the team in scoring with 26 points (12g, 2a) and game-winning goals (5). She also collected First Team All-ODAC and NSCAA All-South Atlantic Region honors, in addition to Second Team VaSID College Division All-State accolades.  Daigle posted an impressive rookie campaign, appearing in all 22 games for the Generals with 20 starts. She finished second on the team in scoring with 23 points (9g, 5a), and collected the advancing penalty kick to secure the ODAC Championship in the title match at Virginia Wesleyan. For her efforts, Daigle received Second Team All-ODAC honors.

Washington and Lee will open the season as hosts of the Washington and Lee Invitational at Watt Field. The Generals will face Sewanee in the opening game on Sept. 11 at noon.

View the entire poll and team summaries here.