The team earned the distinction of becoming the first program at Penn State Berks to secure a spot in the national rankings as they earned the No. 19 spot in the final NSCAA poll of the 2016 season.
Women’s Soccer Team ranked No. 19th in country
After three consecutive years of having the season draw to a close in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the Penn State Berks Women’s Soccer Team finally broke through during their magical run in the postseason this past November. The team earned the distinction of becoming the first program at Penn State Berks to secure a spot in the national rankings as they earned the No. 19 spot in the final NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) poll of the 2016 season.
The 2016 squad earned the first-ever victories for the women’s soccer program in the NCAA Tournament after downing Carnegie Mellon University, 3-1, in the opening round and topping Nazareth College, 1-0, in the second round. This marked the first time in program history reaching the Round of 16.
The Nittany Lions win over Carnegie Mellon, who was ranked No. 17 at the time, marked the first time in program history that the Women’s Soccer Team defeated a nationally ranked opponent. As a result, the Women’s Soccer Team earned a spot in the national rankings with the No. 19 spot in the final 2016 NSCAA poll.
The top-25 features four teams that the Nittany Lions have faced this season. Messiah College, who Berks opened up the 2016 season against, finished runner-up in the National Championship and sit at No. 2 in the rankings. Carnegie Mellon University and Nazareth College, who the Nittany Lions defeated in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, finished No. 23 and No. 24, respectively, in the final rankings. Trinity (Texas) University, who downed Berks in the Sweet Sixteen, is the No. 6 team in the ranking. In addition, the Nittany Lions second opponent of the season, Misericordia University, spent a few weeks in the national rankings and was as high as No. 14 in the country.
The 2016 team set the program record for wins (19) and shutouts (14) in a season. They ranked first in all of Division III in goals scored (115), goals per game (4.79), points (300), and points per game (12.5). The offense ranked in the top-10 in the nation for shots on goal per game (13.25), assists (70), and assists per game (2.92). Defensively, the team ranked 26th in shutout percentage (.625) and 28th in goals against average (.569). After going 19-4-1, the team had a .813 win percentage which ranks as the 27th best in the country.
The team also had a plethora of personal accolades achieved over the season. Senior Dana Sarcinello was named the NEAC Player of the Year for the fourth time in her illustrious career, while Brennan Moyer was named the conference Defensive Player of the Year. Head coach Adrian Munteanu earned NEAC Coach the Year honors for the fourth time in his nine-year career. The Nittany Lions had five All-NEAC First Team selections and one player named to each the second and third teams. Sarcinello was an NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Third Team recipient, the third time she has earned such honors.
With the bulk of the team able to return and the addition of new recruits, the future continues to look bright for the Nittany Lions. The special group of seniors will be sorely missed, but the impact that they made will be felt as they took the program to the next level.