The Division 1 women’s college soccer season kicks off today with a full slate of games around the country (all six Philly teams are playing though Penn’s game is an exhibition). As usual, there are a number of players who either play in the Philadelphia area or are from here (some, like Emily Sands, can claim both). Here are 15 standouts.
Tziarra King, NC State, Sr., Forward, Sicklerville, N.J.
Tziarra has 35 goals and 13 assists through 66 appearances and 66 starts in her first three seasons at NC State and enters her senior season as a preseason All-ACC selection.
Phoebe McClernon, Virginia, Sr., Defender, West Chester, Pa.
A third-team All-American in 2018, McClernon returns as one of the top defenders in the country for her senior season and is ranked 10 in TopDrawerSoccer’s preseason player rankings.
Madie Gibson, Monmouth, R-Sr., Forward, Cape May, N.J.
The reigning MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, Gibson was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy preseason watch list. The fifth-year senior enters her final season with 27 goals and 26 assists in 63 career games.
Amirah Ali, Jr., Forward, Rutgers, Voorhees, N.J.
A second-team All-American in 2018, Ali is on the preseason MAC Hermann Trophy watchlist this year and is expected to be a vocal point in the Scarlet Knights attack. She’s also on the preseason Big 10 honors list.
Emily Sands, Sr., Forward, West Chester, Pa.
A first-team All-Ivy League selection as a junior in 2018, Sands is back for her final season hoping to lead the Quakers to the NCAA tournament. They came up short after an impressive season in 2018 despite sharing the Ivy League title. She led the team with 8 goals and added two assists in a breakout season for the West Chester native.
Alyssa Poarch, So., F, Maryland, Middletown, Del.
Poarch made the preseason Big 10 honors list after a strong rookie campaign in 2018 following a redshirt year for injury in 2017. She had a pair of goals and two assists in 18 appearances and 12 starts for the Terps.
Murphy Agnew, Harvard, Jr., Midfielder, New Hope, Pa.
A first-team All-Ivy League selection last season after being named Ivy League Rookie of the Year her first year, the former standout at YMS and Villa Joseph Marie has six goals and nine assists through her first two seasons in Cambridge.
Emily Gray, Virginia Tech, So., Midfielder, Washington Township, N.J.
An All-Freshman Team selection in the ACC in 2018, Gray had a pair of goals and a team-high six assists in her first season and has been called up to the United States Women’s U20 team.
Rachael Dorwart, North Carolina, So., Forward/Midfielder, Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Playing for one of the top programs in the country, Dorwart provided a spark off the bench for the Tar Heels last fall with five goals and five assists in 27 appearances and 7 starts. Her coach calls her “one of the hardest working players on the roster.”
Kitty Qu, Penn, Sr., Goalkeeper
The Foster, California native received a lot of attention last season during an incredible defensive run for the Quaker back line. She conceded just five goals all season for a .35 goals against average and made 52 saves in 15 games.
Maci Bower, La Salle, Sr., Forward, Millville, Pa.
After a breakout season in 2017 (10 goals, 4 assists), Bower missed all of last season with an injury and will look to regain her goal-scoring form in her final season with the Explorers.
Kristin Barbour, Villanova, Sr., Midfielder/Defender
The Colorado native is back for a final season as one of three captains looking to lead a Wildcats team aiming to build on a successful 2018 campaign.
Hensley Hancuff, Villanova, So., Goalkeeper
The United States U20 goalkeeper was a big recruiting pickup for head coach Chris McLain last season. The Oklahoma native was an all-Big East rookie team selection in her first season.
Dakota Mills, Saint Joseph’s, Grad, Forward, East Windsor, N.J.
Mills is back for a grad season after missing all but two games in 2017. She has 35 goals and 10 assists over her career on City Line Avenue and will look to pace an offense that scored 38 goals last season en route to a 14-5-2 record.
Libby Baez, Drexel, Sr., Goalkeeper
A preseason All-CAA selection, the Irvine, California native tied for the league lead in clean sheets last season with seven, including three in a row to end the season.
What players with ties to the area are you looking forward to watching this season? Let us know in the comments.