The William Smith College Herons will begin the 2012 season ranked 13th in the nation on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association preseason poll. The Herons are coming off a 16-5 season that included the Division III program’s 19th NCAA tournament appearance.
William Smith will face five teams ranked in the preseason top 20. The Herons will host No. 16 Lebanon Valley Sept. 16, No. 8 Skidmore Oct. 6 and No. 5 Messiah Oct. 27. They will play road games against No. 19 Cortland Oct. 10 and No. 6 Ursinus Oct. 13.
Coach Sally Scatton returns for her 25th season at William Smith where she has compiled a 374-117-3 record and led the Herons to three national championships. Scatton has earned eight Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year awards and eight NFHCA Regional Coach of the Year awards.
Scatton returns nearly her entire roster from a year ago, including 10 of 11 starters. Junior forward Taylor Cappello led the 2011 squad in goals (15) and points (33) while senior midfielder Annie Kietzman topped the squad with 11 assists. Senior defender Sara Helmer, a graduate of Little Falls High School, posted a team-high four defensive saves and the goaltending tandem of senior Taryn Little and sophomore Catherine Hare combined for a 0.98 goals against average, an .803 save percentage and seven shutouts.
William Smith last endured a losing season since 1983. This is the highest preseason ranking for William Smith field hockey since opening the 2008 season at No. 12.
With annual goals of winning the Liberty League championship and making a run at a national championship the Herons will have the added incentive this year to win the title on their home turf. McCooey Field will host the NCAA Division III Final Four Nov. 17 and 18.
The Herons open the 2012 season at home Aug. 31 against SUNY-Oswego.
Compiled From Times Staff Reports