The Huskies had a breakout season last year, finishing as the PCLL runner-up. This is a squad led by a strong defense, and defense is always something that I’m looking for in my Cinderella squads.
I expect big things from goalie Dominick Serio, who earned himself 2nd team All-PCLL as a freshman. The Huskies will need to solve Boston College to make it to nationals, as the Eagles handed them two of their three losses in 2016.
The Mustangs came out of nowhere last year to dominate the Lone Star Alliance and snag the automatic bid to nationals. Their high scoring offense shred defenses across Texas, and their 11-3 loss to national runner-up Cal Poly is nothing to be ashamed of.
If this squad can build on the experience they gained by attending nationals and run the table in the LSA again, expect to see SMU right back in Orange County, and potentially garnering a higher seed in 2017.
17. Virginia Tech
The Hokies missed nationals in 2016, which surprised me after their 2015 performance that saw them lose the semifinal in a classic vs Colorado. I don’t see the Hokies making the semis again, but I don’t see them missing playoffs either.
The rise of Georgia Tech has taken the pressure off VT, and I think they enjoy a dark horse run at an at-large bid for 2017.