KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Cal Lutheran Regals were named the No. 19 NCAA Division III program entering the 2018 season by the United Soccer Coaches' preseason poll, released Tuesday. The team made program history last season, reaching their first Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA postseason tournament and boasted a 16-4-3 record overall.
Cal Lutheran also finished at No. 19 on the final 2017 postseason rankings, their highest mark since September 13, 2016, when the team was ranked No. 15 in week one of the national rankings.
In 2017, the Regals finished first in regular season play with an 11-1-2 record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, but fell in overtime of the SCIAC postseason tournament semifinals.
However, the team received an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament, their 13th tournament appearance in program history. Cal Lutheran went on to blank UC Santa Cruz 2-0 in the first round before defeating Pacific Lutheran in penalty kicks (5-4) to advance to the third round. The team then fell to eventual champions Williams (Mass.) 4-0 in the round of 16.
The program's success though earned multiple accolades, including four United Soccer Coaches All-West Region honorees and six All-SCIAC selections. Forward Kali Youngdahl was additionally named SCIAC Athlete of the Year and defender Trinity Martinez earned SCIAC Newcomer of the Year.
Head Coach Frank Marino and assistants Jonathan Decker, Kiki Bailey and Shannon Pennington were also named the 2017 SCIAC Coaching Staff of the Year.
United Soccer Coaches conducts one of the most widely recognized national and regional soccer ranking systems. Its Division III women's ranking committee is comprised of eight members each representing the eight U.S. regions.
United Soccer Coaches Rankings: 2018 Division III Women's Preseason Poll
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director