Penn State Tabbed Preseason Favorites by Conference Coaches

Aug. 12, 2009

Penn State was named the preseason favorite to win the 2009 Big Ten women’s soccer crown as voted on by the conference coaches, the Big Ten office announced Wednesday. The honor marks the seventh-consecutive time the Nittany Lions have been favored entering the season. Michigan State followed with the No. 2 spot in the poll, while Illinois came in third.

Penn State enters the 2009 slate looking to capture its 12th Big Ten after winning the 2008 Big Ten Tournament crown and a share of the regular-season conference title. The Nittany Lions amassed a 16-8-0 record last season, winning eight out of 10 conference games en route to an NCAA bid. The Nittany Lions look to make their 14th consecutive NCAA appearance behind the veteran leadership of All-America first-team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and first-team All-Big Ten forward Katie Schoepfer. The Nittany Lions were recently ranked No. 12 in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Poll.

Michigan State earned the No. 2 spot in the coaches’ poll after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2008. Returning to the DeMartin Stadium for head coach Tom Saxton will be All-American forward Laura Heyboer who became the first freshman in conference history to receive Offensive Player of the Year laurels last season, finishing her debut campaign with 47 points and 19 goals to lead the Big Ten.

Illinois was tabbed as the No. 3 selection in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Fighting Illini look to garner their seventh-straight NCAA berth after advancing to the third round of the national championship in 2008. Head Coach Janet Rayfield leads the squad that earned a NSCAA/adidas preseason rank of 17.

Rounding out the Coaches’ Poll, Purdue was selected to finish fourth, while Ohio State and Minnesota tied for the fifth spot. Wisconsin, Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan complete the final five slots, respectively. The full results of the 2009 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll can be found below.

The 2009 season of Big Ten women’s soccer gets underway on Friday, Aug. 21, with 10 conference squads in action.

2009 Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll

1 Penn State
2 Michigan State
3 Illinois
4 Purdue
T5 Ohio State
T5 Minnesota
7 Wisconsin
8 Indiana
9 Northwestern
10 Iowa
11 Michigan