Penn State Headlines Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll
Aug. 15, 2016
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Defending national and Big Ten champion Penn State is the favorite to win the conference title in 2016, according to the Big Ten women’s soccer preseason poll announced Monday.
After going 22-3-2 last year (8-2-1 in the Big Ten) en route to their first NCAA title and 17th Big Ten crown in the last 18 seasons, the Nittany Lions were the top choice in the 2016 Big Ten preseason poll from the conference’s 14 head coaches, who could not vote for their own teams. Rutgers, which reached its first NCAA Women’s College Cup in 2015 and was the runner-up at the Big Ten Tournament, placed second in this year’s preseason poll, narrowly edging out Big Ten co-champion Wisconsin.
Rounding out the top five in the team balloting were Michigan and Ohio State.
Also on Monday, the Big Ten unveiled its preseason honors list, as chosen by the conference coaches. Among the 42 students earning preseason honors are seven first-team all-Big Ten selections from 2015, along with two of last year’s Big Ten All-Freshman Team picks. In addition, exactly half (21) of the students on the 2016 preseason honors list received Academic All-Big Ten recognition last year, including three-time selection Caroline Flynn of Nebraska, and 11 others who garnered that award for a second time. A senior midfielder for the Cornhuskers, Flynn and Minnesota senior defender Rashida Beal both recorded a perfect 4.0 grade-point average last term to headline 10 of the 2016 preseason honors choices who were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars a year ago.
This year’s Big Ten preseason honors list includes Wisconsin senior midfielder Rose Lavelle, the reigning Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and a returning first-team All-America choice, as well as a three-time all-Big Ten selection. Minnesota senior forward Simone Kolander also is featured, coming off a season that saw her named the Big Ten Forward of the Year and collect third-team All-America status. Lavelle, Kolander and another Big Ten preseason honoree, Penn State junior forward Megan Schafer, were named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List earlier this month.
The 2016 Big Ten women’s soccer season gets underway Friday with all 14 conference teams in action, including Penn State playing host to sixth-ranked West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. (ET) live on BTN in the opening round of the Penn State Invitational.
Here’s a look at the complete Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll and Preseason Honors List:
BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON HONORS LIST