Aug. 18, 2008
Penn State was named the preseason favorite to win the 2008 Big Ten women's soccer crown as voted on by the conference coaches, the Big Ten office announced on Monday. The honor marks the sixth-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.
Fresh off its 13th-straight NCAA Championship appearance, Penn State is looking to win its 11th Big Ten title. The Nittany Lions compiled a 2007 record of 18-4-2, winning nine out of 10 conference games. Returning to Jeffery Field for head coach Erica Walsh will be the All-American duo of Alyssa Naeher and Katie Schoepfer. Naeher earned the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year honors last season while Schoepfer led the conference in points (35) and goals (15). The Nittany Lions were recently ranked ninth in the NSCAA/adidas Preseason Poll.
Illinois earned the No. 2 slot in the coaches' poll for the third-straight year after reaching the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2007. The Illini look to make their sixth-consecutive NCAA appearance behind the veteran leadership of All-Big Ten first-team defenseman Emily Zurrer and All-Big Ten second-team midfielder Jackie Santacaterina. Head Coach Janet Rayfield leads the squad that earned a NSCAA/adidas preseason rank of 19.
2007 Big Ten Tournament Champion Purdue was tabbed as the No. 3 selection in the preseason coaches' poll. The Boilermakers ended last year's campaign with a 20-2-3 overall mark, including an 8-1-1 record in conference, making their fifth NCAA Championship appearance in the last six years. Conference 2007 Big Ten Coach of the Year Rob Klatte and his Purdue squad enter the season ranked No. 24 in the NSCAA/adidas poll.
Rounding out the field in the coaches' poll are Indiana, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan and Michigan State tying for the seventh spot, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa, respectively. The complete results of the 2008 Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll can be found below.
The 2008 season of Big Ten women's soccer gets underway on Friday, Aug. 22, with seven conference squads in action.
Big Ten Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1 Penn State
5 Ohio State
T-7 Michigan T-7 Michigan State