Penn State Named Preseason Favorite by Conference Coaches

Aug. 17, 2007

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PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Penn State was tabbed the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten Women's Soccer Championship as voted on by the conference coaches, the Big Ten office announced on Friday. The nod marks the fifth consecutive time the Nittany Lions have been favored entering the season. Illinois followed with the No. 2 spot in the poll while Purdue came in third.

Coming off an appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals, Penn State has won the last nine Big Ten regular-season championships and took home last year's conference tournament crown. First-year head coach Erica Walsh welcomes back seven starters from 2006, including All-Big Ten first-team members Aubrey Aden-Buie and Sheree Gray. The Nittany Lions went 18-5 last season, including an 8-1 mark in Big Ten play. Penn State is No. 7 is the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Rankings.

Illinois earned the No. 2 spot in the coaches' poll for the second-straight year after reaching the third round of the NCAA Championship in 2006. The Illini finished second in the regular season, going 8-2 in conference and 16-8 overall before finishing as the runner-up in the Big Ten Tournament. Head Coach Janet Rayfield returns nine starters from last season, including the conference's Offensive Player of the Year Ella Masar, Defensive Co-Player of the Year Emily Zurrer and Freshman of the Year Chichi Nweke. Illinois was recently ranked 20th in the NSCAA/adidas preseason poll.

After finishing third in the 2006 regular season, Purdue was tabbed as the No. 3 selection in the preseason coaches' poll. The Boilermakers ended last year's campaign with a 14-6 overall mark, including a 6-3 record in conference and an appearance in the NCAA Championship. Head Coach Rob Klatte returns nine starters from last season, including first-team All-Big Ten forward Parrissa Eyorokon. The Boilermakers enter the season ranked No. 15 in the NSCAA/adidas poll.

Rounding out the field in the coaches' poll are Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Minnesota and Iowa, respectively. The complete results of the 2007 Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll can be found below.

The 2007 season of Big Ten women's soccer officially gets underway on Friday, August 31, with all 11 conference squads in action.

Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Penn State
2. Illinois
3. Purdue
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan
6. Indiana
7. Wisconsin
8. Michigan State
9. Northwestern
10. Minnesota
11. Iowa