Three Conference Teams Receive Spots in NCAA/adidas Preseason National Rankings

2006 Big Ten Defensive Co-Player of the Year Emily Zurrer helped the Illini climb to No. 20 in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason National Rankings.

2006 Big Ten Defensive Co-Player of the Year Emily Zurrer helped the Illini climb to No. 20 in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason National Rankings.

Aug. 15, 2007

PARK RIDGE, Ill. -The Penn State, Purdue and Illinois women's soccer programs all earned spots in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason National Rankings, the organization announced on Tuesday. The Nittany Lions lead the conference at No. 7, while Purdue follows at No. 15 and Illinois is ranked 20th.

Winner of the last nine conference regular-season championships, Penn State took home the Big Ten Tournament title for the first time in five years in 2006, eventually advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals. First-year head coach Erica Walsh welcomes back seven starters from last year's campaign, including All-Big Ten first-team members Aubrey Aden-Buie and Sheree Gray.

Purdue made its fourth NCAA appearance in the last five seasons in 2006 after finishing third in the Big Ten regular-season standings. Entering his 10th season with the Boilermakers, head coach Rob Klatte returns nine starters from last year, including first-team All-Big Ten forward Parrissa Eyorokon.

Illinois finished second in the regular season before making its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Championship, eventually dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker to Florida State in the third round. Nine of last year's starters will return to play for head coach Janet Rayfield in her seventh season, including three of the conference's major award winners - Ella Masar (Offensive Player of the Year), Emily Zurrer (Defensive Co-Player of the Year) and Chichi Nweke (Freshman of the Year).

The 2007 Big Ten women's soccer season officially kicks off on Friday, August 31, with all 11 conference teams in action.

The complete NSCAA/adidas Preseason National Rankings can be found below.

Rk.  School (2006 Record)
1. North Carolina (27-1-0)
2. Notre Dame (25-1-1)
3. UCLA (21-4-0)
4. Portland (17-4-3)
5. Texas A&M (17-6-1)
6. Florida State (18-4-4)
7. PENN STATE (18-5-3)
8. Santa Clara (15-5-1)
T9. Boston College (12-7-3)
T9. Stanford (15-6-2)
T9. Texas (18-4-3)
12. Rutgers (16-3-4)
13. Florida (14-6-5)
14. Colorado (14-6-4)
15. PURDUE (14-6-3)
16. Connecticut (11-7-4)
17. Virginia (12-8-2)
18. California (12-5-5)
19. Clemson (11-8-5)
20. ILLINOIS (16-8-0)
21. West Virginia (14-4-3)
22. Wake Forest (16-6-1)
23. Oklahoma State (17-3-3)
24. Tennessee (12-7-4)
25. USC (11-5-5)