Spirit Triumph Over Breakers in Playoff Battle of NWSL Reserve Teams

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

WPSL East Conference Final: Washington Spirit Reserves 3, Boston Breakers Reserves 1

It was everything you’d expect the first-ever match between two NWSL reserve teams to be: hard-fought, high-quality, and suspenseful. But the 2015 W-League Champion Washington Spirit Reserves came out on top on the strength of two goals from Imani Dorsey and a strike from distance by Maddie Huster that Carli Lloyd would have been proud of. Boston’s Katie Lenz countered with a well-placed goal, but it wasn’t enough.
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Spirit Reserves Tough It Out in WPSL Regional Semifinal

Washington, Boston reserve teams will face off for WPSL East Championship

Midge Purce picked up two assists but should have had a lot more

Midge Purce picked up two assists but could have had a lot more.

Unlike last season in the W-League’s fiercely competitive Southeastern Conference, the Washington Spirit Reserves have seldom been challenged this year, with their toughest opponent being the Spirit Academy. That changed tonight when they faced the regional hosts the Penn Fusion. They came away with a 3-1 victory, but it was hard-fought.
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NCAA – Chris’ 2017 Recruiting Rankings Summer Update (Top 50)

I’ve decided to dump Mallory Pugh into this class for UCLA since she’s not enrolling until January, so her clock doesn’t start until then.

1. Stanford
2. UCLA
3. Penn State
4. Michigan
5. North Carolina
6. Duke
7. Virginia
8. Santa Clara
9. Cal
10. USC
11. Ohio State
12. Arkansas
13. Louisville
14. Texas Tech
15. Syracuse
16. Texas
17. Tennessee
18. Texas A&M
19. Florida State
20. Clemson
21. Wake Forest
22. Boston College
23. Auburn
24. South Carolina
25. Kent State
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NCAA – Chris’ 2018 Recruiting Rankings Summer Update (Top 25)

As always, still early, so these will likely change a bunch before next year, especially beyond the top handful.

1. North Carolina
2. Stanford
3. Virginia
4. Florida State
5. Penn State
6. Notre Dame
7. Washington
8. UCLA
9. BYU
10. Duke
11. Boston College
12. Oklahoma State
13. Portland
14. Northwestern
15. Arizona
T16. Michigan
T16. Ohio State
18. Oregon
19. Tennessee
20. USC
T21. Rice
T21. South Carolina
23. LSU
24. Princeton
T25. Louisville
T25. Texas

Blue Chip Prospects

Brooke Bollinger – Florida State
Jaelin Howell – Florida State
Rachel Jones – North Carolina
Brianna Pinto – North Carolina
Alexa Spaanstra – Virginia

NCAA – 2016 CoachRank – The 2011-2013 Replacements

* = Coach departed following 2015 season.
BOLD = Newly eligible coach in rankings (minimum three seasons in position)

Going Up

2583.78% – Clemson (19.86 – Eddie Radwanski – 0.74 – Hershey Strosberg)
1086.01% – UMBC (28.82 – Leslie Wray – 2.43 – Alyssa Radu)
993.56% – Arizona (28.87 – Tony Amato – 2.64 – Lisa Oyen)
696.90% – South Alabama (74.59 – Graham Winkworth – 9.36 – Mike Varga)

593.66% – Lipscomb (20.81 – Kevin O’Brien – 3.00 – Jon Ireland)
390.81% – Arkansas (18.16 – Colby Hale – 3.70 – Erin Aubry)
344.67% – UC Riverside (17.92 – Nat Gonzalez – 4.03 – Veronica O’Brien)
324.55% – Indiana (19.02 – Amy Berbary – 4.48 – Mick Lyon)
302.94% – San Francisco (12.33 – Jim Millinder – 3.06 – Mark Carr)
252.16% – Vermont (12.22 – Kristi Lefebvre – 3.47 – Kwame Lloyd)
249.35% – Cincinnati (29.73 – Neil Stafford – 8.51 – Michelle Salmon)
237.20% – Montana (33.72 – Mark Plakorus – 10.00 – Neil Segwick)
176.32% – Southern Miss (3.15 – Mohammed El-Zare – 1.14 – Scott Ebke)
165.35% – Cornell (3.37 – Patrick Farmer – 1.27 – Danielle LaRoche)
109.36% – George Washington (19.91 – Sarah Barnes – 9.51 – Tanya Vogel)
88.02% – Albany (32.64 – Caitlin Cucchiella – 17.36 – Mary-Frances Monroe)
77.67% – Northwestern (16.31 – Michael Moynihan – 9.18 – Stephanie Foster)
77.05% – Southern (15.74 – Courtnie Prather – 8.89 – John Knighten)
74.10% – Virginia Tech (42.95 – Chugger Adair – 24.67 – Kelly Cagle)
47.43% – Oral Roberts (23.84 – Roger Bush – 16.17 – Ryan Bush)
46.61% – Wyoming (20.32 – Pete Cuardado – 13.86 – Danny Sanchez)
44.65% – *Western Michigan (40.43 – Nate Norman – 27.95 – Suzie Grech)
37.37% – *Georgia State (13.60 – Derek Leader – 9.90 – Dom Martelli)
30.61% – *Lamar (14.72 – Orlando Cervantes – 11.27 – Dewi Hardman)
28.02% – East Tennessee State (24.72 – Adam Sayers – 19.31 – Heather Henson)
24.74% – Florida Atlantic (12.96 – Patrick Baker – 10.39 – Brian Dooley)
23.73% – VCU (23.15 – Lindsey Martin – 18.71 – Tiffany Roberts-Sahaydak)

16.14% – Mercer (44.48 – Tony Economopoulos – 38.30 – Grant Serafy)
9.45% – North Dakota State (33.46 – Mark Cook – 30.57 – Pete Cuadrado)
6.33% – Duquesne (19.48 – Al Alvine – 18.32 – Tim Zundel)
6.11% – Oklahoma (17.36 – Matt Potter – 16.36 – Nicole Nelson)
4.42% – UCF (64.71 – Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak – 61.97 – Amanda Cromwell)
0.43% – *Louisiana-Monroe (2.33 – Roberto Mazza – 2.32 – Stacy Lamb)

Eddie Radwanski Continues A Great Salvage Job

There’ll likely be more improvement yet this season with Clemson a College Cup contender, but it still boggles the mind how quickly Eddie Radwanski has taken a program at rock bottom and made it viable once more. Radwanski’s overall CoachRank numbers aren’t much to crow about yet, but considering where he started out, he’s done amazing work to get the Tigers contending for honors in the ACC. He’s been the best hire of the past half-decade, and it’s not even close.

The Big Hitters on Last Year’s Ranking Are Still Going Fine

UMBC and Arkansas probably had seasons to forget in 2015, but the bad years didn’t really take too much of a dent out of the improvement made in each program since their current boss took over. Elsewhere, the likes of Lipscomb, UC Riverside, and Vermont keep on rising, though all but the former are still quite modest as compared to some of their conference rivals right now.

Getting On The Right Side of the Ledger

Elsewhere in those on the positive side of the ledger, Jim Millinder nearly getting San Francisco to the WCC title sent his number soaring after the appearance of more modest gains following last season. Likewise with Sarah Barnes at George Washington, though the Colonials boss actually brought home a regular season title in impressive fashion last year for GW. More notably, Northwestern’s Michael Moynihan used an NCAA Tournament season to affect a huge swing and get well into positive percentage numbers after finishing last year at -34.5% from his predecessor. Al Alvine of Duquesne used an A10 Tournament title to similarly boost his number, while there were also turnarounds at North Dakota State for Mark Cook and Oklahoma for Matt Potter.
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WPSL DC-Area End of Season Roundup

Spirit Reserves Capture Colonial Crown with 6-0 Win

The 6-0 final scoreline was not a shock, particularly considering that the Washington Spirit Reserves had plenty of subs, while the Richmond Kickers showed up with 11 players and no goalkeeper. (Or, as @jstats tweeted at me, “if they have 11 they have a goalie…that person just doesn’t know it yet”.) And that was with the start being delayed 25 minutes to allow the visitors time to show up.

That being said, it seemed anything but inevitable for the first 45 minutes. Despite having Ashley Herndon (James Madison), Imani Dorsey (Duke), Meggie Dougherty Howard (Florida), and Yanara Aedo (Colo-Colo) on the pitch, the first half seemed more like a game of keep-away: the Reserves had much the better of possession but had nothing to show for it. The best chance of the first 40 minutes was a 6th-minute shot by Wake Forest’s Maddie Huster from about 30 yards out that went off the top of the crossbar.

Richmond suffered further misfortune as their #2 went down in the 38th minute after tangling legs with a Spirit player. She was diagnosed with a bad ankle sprain and missed the rest of the match, so the Strikers were down to ten players.

Quite possibly as a result, the Reserves got two decent chances late in the half. In the 41st minute, Dorsey received a nice cross just inside the top of the 18 but sent it right to the goalkeeper. In the next minute, Dougherty Howard took a shot from about 20 out but sent it high.

Assistant coach JP Sousa was not happy at halftime. “We started off very flat. That was a boring first 45 minutes, very uninspiring. We were just a little bit lazy around the ball, let things happen. We were happy to keep it, but we didn’t do anything positive with it in their half of the field.”
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NCAA – 2016 CoachRank – Lessons From The Recently Departed

Managers Departing After 2015:

* = Did Not Complete Season

56.91 – Ray Leone – Harvard
49.24 – Jessica Hain – Liberty
42.64 – Dean Joseph – Jackson State
40.43 – Nate Norman – Western Michigan
38.84 – Tracey Leone – Northeastern
33.66 – Stevie Gill – Grand Canyon
22.43 – Jonathan Morgan – Maryland
21.81 – Sue Ryan – Stony Brook
18.57 – Rob King – Kennesaw State
15.50 – Ted Flogaites – Western Illinois
14.72 – Orlando Cervantes – Lamar
13.60 – Derek Leader – Georgia State
13.43 – Linda Hathorn – Iona*
13.33 – Phil Pincince – Brown
13.15 – Erika True – Indiana State
11.30 – James Price – Northern Iowa
10.93 – Jason Cherry – Eastern Illinois
8.93 – Dylan Harrison – Nicholls State
7.36 – Sarah McClellan – Binghamton
5.41 – Melissa Price – Nevada
5.16 – Scooter Savoie – McNeese State
4.93 – Will Lemke – Youngstown State
4.75 – Tom Gosselin – Mount Saint Mary’s
3.98 – Darren Gallagher – Holy Cross
3.86 – Bob Winch – The Citadel
3.12 – Keith Coleman – Pacific
2.33 – Roberto Mazza – Louisiana-Monroe
2.07 – Abby Minihan – USC Upstate
0.56 – Rob Bielan – Saint Peter’s

N/A – N. Fabio Boateng – Mississippi Valley State
N/A – Andrew Fleming – Eastern Kentucky
N/A – Mandi Risden – NJIT
N/A – Jim Robbins – Long Island
N/A – Kerri Scroope – Delaware State

There Wasn’t Much Intrigue In The Offseason Coaching Carousel

Usually, you can sit back and reflect on a handful of puzzling coaching changes from the offseason gone by, but there’s really very little from this past Winter to question. Almost all of the managers that departed after 2015, be it by their own hand or by their superiors’, were under the magic 20.00 line. Of the pair just above that mark, it also wasn’t that hard to see why a change was made. Maryland’s Jonathan Morgan had started his tenure brightly with the Terps but had seen fortunes decline dramatically, with the club finishing rock bottom of the Big Ten this past season. Sue Ryan had been in her position for a long time and hadn’t really built on a recent NCAA Tournament appearance. Otherwise, the handful of highly ranked coaches left for bigger and better jobs or for family reasons. The notable exception might be Dean Joseph at Jackson State (who I didn’t even know had been replaced until recently), but trying to feel out motives for SWAC coaching changes is a tricky business.

Grand Canyon Made The Offseason’s Most Puzzling Move

You can’t fault Grand Canyon University for their ambition. The for-profit university has charged headfirst into Division I athletics with pretensions of being a major player, perhaps evidenced strongly by the presence of Schellas Hyndman as the men’s program’s head coach. But the Lopes appear to have bitten off more than they can chew by dispensing with long-time manager Stevie Gill after the 2015 season. In a dead end conference and not eligible for postseason play as they transition to full DI status, Gill had done an admirable job for GCU in the transition period. While the Lopes were tenuously linked with bigger names once the opening was revealed, few probably were expecting the new manager to be Georgia State’s Derek Leader. To put it bluntly, Leader did little of anything at Georgia State during his short tenure, finishing with a CoachRank of 13.60 in a league with modest competition. Leader looked closer to the hot seat than a move to another head coaching position, and given GCU’s quick hook of Gill last offseason, he will be under serious pressure to deliver quickly for the Lopes.
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NCAA – 2016 CoachRank Adjusted Rankings – Trendwatch

The totals for CoachRank only tell part of the story. You can get a clearer view of the big picture by examining some of the trends associated with the individual season scores that are averaged together to get the total CoachRank score.

The following are some of those trends, sorted by conference. Note that only programs with coaches in place for at least three seasons are included in this.

“Going Up” = Teams whose Season Scores have gone up in successive years between 2013-2015.
“Going Down” = Teams whose Season Scores have gone down in successive years between 2013-2015.

AAC

GOING UP – Temple
GOING DOWN – East Carolina, SMU, Tulsa, UCF

ACC

GOING UP – Pittsburgh
GOING DOWN – Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

AMERICA EAST

GOING UP – Albany
GOING DOWN – UMBC

ATLANTIC 10

GOING UP – George Washington, Saint Joseph’s
GOING DOWN – Saint Louis, UMass

ATLANTIC SUN

GOING UP – Florida Gulf Coast, Lipscomb
GOING DOWN –

BIG EAST

GOING UP –
GOING DOWN – Marquette

BIG SKY

GOING UP – Sacramento State
GOING DOWN – Portland State

BIG SOUTH

GOING UP –
GOING DOWN – Radford, Winthrop

BIG TEN

GOING UP – Minnesota, Northwestern, Penn State
GOING DOWN – Indiana

BIG WEST

GOING UP – Long Beach State
GOING DOWN – Cal Poly, Hawaii, UC Irvine

BIG 12

GOING UP –
GOING DOWN – West Virginia

(Note: This one seems a bit absurd on its face, as WVU still performed outstandingly last season but came up short in the Big 12 Tournament, whereas they had won the competition in the two prior seasons, which explains much of the drop in season score for 2015.)

COLONIAL

GOING UP – College of Charleston, Hofstra
GOING DOWN –

CONFERENCE USA

GOING UP – Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas
GOING DOWN – Charlotte, Florida International, UAB, UTEP

HORIZON

GOING UP – Northern Kentucky
GOING DOWN –

IVY

GOING UP – Cornell
GOING DOWN –
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NCAA – 2016 CoachRank by Conference + Value Above/Below Peers

This may be more useful for comparisons instead of the overall list. Additional material at the end of the post.

AAC

14 (NR). 65.10 – Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak – UCF
59 (-9). 38.01 – Denise Schilte-Brown – South Florida
65 (+28). 36.56 – Len Tsantiris – UConn
83 (-45). 32.70 – Brooks Monaghan – Memphis
99 (NR). 29.99 – Neil Stafford – Cincinnati
145 (-3). 19.34 – Rob Donnenwirth – East Carolina
147 (-2). 18.94 – Kyle Cussen – Tulsa
195 (-12). 9.07 – Chris Petrucelli – SMU
211 (NR). 5.40 – Seamus O’Connor – Temple
229 (-3). 1.82 – Chris Pfau – Houston

ACC

1 (-). 97.73 – Mark Krikorian – Florida State
3 (-). 84.36 – Steve Swanson – Virginia
12 (-5). 69.58 – Anson Dorrance – North Carolina
22 (+7). 52.98 – Robbie Church – Duke
23 (-1). 52.62 – Chugger Adair – Virginia Tech
57 (-34). 38.45 – Tony da Luz – Wake Forest
60 (-11). 37.99 – Alison Foley – Boston College
88 (+1). 32.08 – Karen Ferguson-Dayes – Louisville
119 (+37). 24.13 – Eddie Radwanski – Clemson
165 (-7). 15.78 – Phil Wheddon – Syracuse
212 (NR). 5.23 – Mary-Frances Monroe – Miami (FL)
220 (+3). 4.15 – Greg Miller – Pittsburgh
231 (NR). 1.06 – Tim Santoro – NC State

America East

54 (+21). 39.18 – John Natale – Hartford
84 (NR). 32.64 – Caitlin Cucchiella – Albany
102 (-30). 28.82 – Leslie Wray – UMBC
T154 (+8). 17.92 – Scott Atherley – Maine
183 (+18). 12.22 – Kristi Lefebvre – Vermont

Atlantic 10

16 (+1). 59.93 – Paul Royal – La Salle
27 (-13). 49.78 – Mike Tucker – Dayton
127 (NR). 23.15 – Lindsey Martin – VCU
139 (+31). 19.91 – Sarah Barnes – George Washington
143 (+71). 19.48 – Al Alvine – Duquesne
152 (+17). 18.35 – Jess Mannella – Saint Joseph’s
169 (-25). 14.90 – Ed Matz – UMass
176 (NR). 13.24 – Steve Brdarski – Saint Bonaventure
178 (NR). 12.82 – Katie Shields – Saint Louis
179 (-6). 12.79 – Peter Albright – Richmond
190 (-5). 10.49 – Greg Ashton – Davidson
204 (-14). 7.90 – Michael Needham – Rhode Island

Atlantic Sun

9 (-3). 70.73 – Jim Blankenship – Florida Gulf Coast
55 (-4). 38.78 – Brian Copham – Jacksonville
134 (+34). 20.81 – Kevin O’Brien – Lipscomb
T198 (NR). 8.76 – Manoj Khettry – Stetson

Big 12

8 (-4). 71.47 – Nikki Izzo-Brown – West Virginia
36 (+45). 46.58 – Tom Stone – Texas Tech
70 (+28). 35.93 – Paul Jobson – Baylor
76 (-7). 33.91 – Angela Kelly – Texas
86 (-58). 32.56 – Colin Carmichael – Oklahoma State
144 (+13). 19.44 – Mark Francis – Kansas
158 (+6). 17.60 – Matt Potter – Oklahoma
205 (-9). 7.56 – Eric Bell – TCU

Big East

17 (-6). 56.71 – Markus Roeders – Marquette
20 (-5). 53.71 – Dave Nolan – Georgetown
75 (+17). 34.16 – Erin Chastain – DePaul
95 (+44). 30.56 – Ian Stone – Saint John’s (NY)
115 (+20). 25.20 – Tari St. John – Butler
225 (-5). 3.33 – Woody Sherwood – Xavier
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Spirit Finish Homestand on a High Note

Spirit forward Francisca Ordega is determined to fill the gap left by Crystal Dunn.

Spirit forward Francisca Ordega is determined to fill the gap left by Crystal Dunn.

After a strong 4-0-1 start, it’s been a question of which Washington Spirit team will show up: the one that shut down the Orlando Pride, or the one that gave up two goals to a struggling Sky Blue team? After two shaky performances, tonight it was the former, as Washington came out with energy and enthusiasm, scored an early goal, and put away the rival Chicago Red Stars, 2-0.

The win officially puts the Spirit in third place in the standings, but in terms of points earned per game played, they’re tops in the league.

The first goal came in the 20th minute, Christine Nairn feeding the ball to an onrushing Estefania Banini. Banini did a give-and-go with Francisca Ordega that got her to the left corner of the six-yard box, and she sent the ball just inside the right post from there. Meanwhile, despite being a little sloppy at times and turning the ball over, Washington was passing the ball around well.
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