BAY CITY, Mich. — The head women's soccer coaches of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) chose Grand Valley State University to win the 2013 GLIAC women's soccer title in preseason balloting.
2013 GLIAC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (first-place votes)
Grand Valley State (12)
||Michigan Tech (1)||
|Saginaw Valley State
|12|| Lake Erie
The league's 13 head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.
The Lakers outdistanced Michigan Technological University by 21 points and collected 12 first-place votes. GVSU, which has won the last eight GLIAC titles, and has made it to the NCAA Division II Championship game the previous three years prior to last year, winning it twice in 2009 and 2010, while losing in the championship game in 2011. GVSU will work towards earning its 11th-straight NCAA Tournament bid this year.
Michigan Tech finished second in the preseason polls receiving 123 points and the only other first-place vote. Saginaw Valley State University was voted third in the polls with 120 points. After making it to the GLIAC Tournament.
Ohio Dominican University grabbed fourth place and tallied 102 points, following closely by the University of Findlay, by one vote, with 91 points to finish in fifth place. Ferris State University collected 87 points to finish in sixth place in the polls. Northern Michigan University earned 70 points to finish in seventh place. Tiffin University finished in eighth place garnering 70 points.
The Northwood University received 63 points to finish just one point ahead of Ashland University for a ninth place finish. Ashland tallied 62 points and took tenth place in the polls.
Walsh University, earned 43 points for a 11th place finish. Lake Erie College was voted 12th with 23 points, and rounding out the coaches poll is Malone University tallying 18 points.
GLIAC women's soccer teams open play on Sunday, Sept. 1 with conference play beginning Sunday Sept. 15. The 2013 GLIAC Women's Soccer Tournament will begin with quarterfinals on Nov. 5 on campus sites, with the semifinals and final held on Nov. 8 & 10 on the campus of the top remaining seed after the quarterfinals.
-- The following are previews of all 13 GLIAC Women's Soccer teams for the 2013 season --
Head Coach: Danny Krispinsky
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 10th
OVERVIEW: The Eagles bring back nine starters from last year's 7-10-1 team (6-6-1 GLIAC), but this season figures to be more about change that maintaining the status quo. Danny Krispinsky, a former All-GLIAC soccer player at AU, is in his first year as the head coach of the Eagles. Krispinsky is attempting to rebuild the program and return it to the status it once enjoyed as one of the top teams in the conference, region and nation.
Krispinsky is a former assistant coach with the men's program and he comes to AU after a year as the head coach of the boys' team at Ashland High School. This team is seeking scoring punch and will look to a pair of sophomore forwards to provide that. Allison Richards, an All-GLIAC honorable mention selection in 2012, led the Eagles in scoring last season with five goals and three assists and Alexandra Kovarik had three goals and an assist.
Senior Rebecca Plescia returns as the starting keeper and she's among AU's career leaders in minutes played in goal.
Ferris State University
Head Coach: Andy McCaslin
2013 Preseason Coaches Poll: 6th
OVERVIEW: Head coach Andy McCaslin begins his first season at the Bulldog helm with 18 returnees from a year ago, including four seniors on the roster in veteran goalkeeper Rachel McCollum, defenders Amanda Foster and Audra Merino along with Courtney Meharg. A pair of returning National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division II All-Midwest Region honorees are also back in Foster and junior midfielder Riley Wood, who claimed all-region second and third team laurels, respectively, last fall.
In his initial season on the Bulldog staff, McCaslin helped FSU to the GLIAC Tournament semifinals for only the second time in school history. Ferris State concluded the 2012 campaign with a 9-7-3 overall record and the program's first winning season and highest league finish since 2005. FSU also made its third consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance.
The Bulldogs start the regular-season against Wisconsin-Parkside on Thursday, Sept. 5, in Kenosha, Wis.
University of Findlay
Head Coach: Crystal Dye
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 5th
OVERVIEW: The University of Findlay women's soccer team finished with an 8-9-1 record last year under the guidance of head coach Crystal Dye, which included an 8-4-1 mark in the GLIAC. The Oilers qualified for the GLIAC Tournament during Dye's first season with the team and will have high expectations entering the 2013 campaign.
The Oilers will have to make up for the loss of seniors Emily Beddoes and Megan Gallaway, both first team all-conference and region players. Beddoes was also named the GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year after scoring 14 goals to go along with four assists.
The team will return 17 players who saw action last season and will be led by senior Katie Burke, who tallied a team-high seven assists to go along with three goals in 2012.
Grand Valley State University
Head Coach: Dave DiIanni
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 1st
OVERVIEW: The Grand Valley State Women's soccer team enters the 2013 season ranked No. 2 nationally, despite the fact it must replace its top six-point getters from a year ago. The offense may take some time to get going, but the Lakers defense is sure to stifle opponents right away. GVSU's backline recorded 18 shutouts and only surrendered 11 goals in 2012. Four starters from that unit are returning. One other starter and 14 letter winners are back as well. Senior goalkeeper Abbey Miller will replace Chelsea Parise, the 2012 GLIAC Defensive Player of the Year, in net.
If the Lakers can put things together offensively, they will be a serious threat to win the GLIAC for a ninth consecutive season. GVSU is also attempting to make a fifth straight NCAA Semifinals appearance.
Lake Erie College
Head Coach: Jamie Shadd-Matson
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 12th
OVERVIEW: Last year in 2012 Lake Erie finished with a 3-14-1 record overall and 2-10-1 in the GLIAC.
Senior defender Lauren Gaitsch (Huntley, Ill./Huntly) and junior defender Grace Ferut (Medina, Ohio/Medina) will anchor the Storm's defense this season. Sophomore Marlena Lesniowski (London, Ontario/Catholic Central High) will play a pivotal role in the midfield once again. Senior Paige Nemec (Mantua, Ohio/Crestwood) looks to make a splash at the forward position.
Coach Jamie Shadd (Gannon '07) returns for her third season at the helm for the Lake Erie Storm.
Michigan Technological University
Head Coach: Michelle Jacob
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 2nd
OVERVIEW: The Michigan Tech soccer team advanced from being a brand new program in 2010 to GLIAC Co-Champions in 2012 with a 11-1-1 conference record and 14-3-2 overall slate. The challenge in 2013 will be maintaining that status as one of the league's elite programs.
Lindsey Van Rooy and Katie Boardman headline a cast of 12 returning seniors. The two paced the team in goals a year ago with nine and seven, respectively. The Huskies are solid throughout the lineup including goalkeeper. Jenna Phelps played all 19 games a year ago, surrendering just .92 goals per game. Mary Beth Spoehr, the starter in goal each of the previous two seasons, returns from injury as well.
Tech is coached by Michelle Jacob, who was named GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2012. The Huskies' first and only women's soccer coach owns a 28-22-3 record in three seasons.
Northern Michigan University
Head Coach: Matt Granstrand
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 7th
OVERVIEW: The Northern Michigan University soccer team begins its 18th season in 2013.
The Wildcats finished 4-13 overall last season and 3-10 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The 'Cats are once again led by 10-year veteran head coach Matt Granstrand who has led NMU to an 89-63-15 record. He returns 19 players from last season and added six newcomers.
The Green and Gold will rely on juniors Tevun Sellers and Taylor Smith on offense. Sellers had four goals and season ago and Smith added three. Senior KC McCary and sophomore Gabriella Garza provide a ton of experience at midfield and 2012 GLIAC Second Team selection junior Kim Rietveld along with junior Haley Boroughf and sophomore Helen Kiilunen will provide depth on defense. Sophomore Shelby Conard returns as goalkeeper for her second season. Conard started 14 games last season, tallying 75 saves and three shutout victories.
Head Coach: Josh Jones
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 13th
OVERVIEW: The Malone University women's soccer team loses eleven players, nine of which were seniors, from the team that went 1-14-1 overall and 0-12-1 in the GLIAC in 2012.
Head coach Josh Jones, who served as interim head coach last season, will embark on his first season as a full-time head coach. He will look to senior midfielder Ally Smith to provide leadership for the large incoming class of 10 freshmen. Smith tied for the team-lead with two goals a year ago. Also returning are sophomore midfielders Leah Arnold and Natalie Rostedt. Rostedt scored a goal in her freshman campaign while Arnold added an assist.
Head Coach: Dean Pappas
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 9th
OVERVIEW: The Northwood women's soccer team heads into the 2013 with a new look, hoping to improve on last season's 6-10-1 record (6-6-1 GLIAC). The Timberwolves feature 12 newcomers on their current active roster, but also bring back a number of key players. Leading the way will be senior Alyssa Tomassi, who is coming off a strong junior campaign. She led the team in goals (13) and points (27) en route to First Team All-GLIAC honors. Also returning is senior defender Madison Pines, who earned Honorable Mention All-GLIAC honors a year ago. Other key returners include goalkeeper Julie Shields, midfielders Melissa Seymour and Sarah Murdoch, and defender McKenzie Gohn. Head coach Dean Pappas is entering his third season as the head coach of the Timberwolves with a 11-21-1 record as Northwood's head coach.
Ohio Dominican University
Head Coach: Jonathan Meade
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 4th
OVERVIEW: The 2012 season said goodbye to five seniors, including three all-conference performers in Jennifer Holton, Shara Perry and Megan Wharton. Fifth year head coach Jonathan Meade will now count on a blend of upperclassmen and a promising cast of incoming freshmen to keep the program at a high level.
The 2013 squad will have just two seniors returning to the field in Megan Augusta (Lyndhurst, Ohio), and Christen Adams (Sylvania, Ohio). Augusta was selected to the GLIAC All-Academic team in 2012 and played in all 19 games for the Panthers with 17 starts. For the season, she recorded three goals and four assists at the forward position. Adams, a 2012 selection to the GLIAC All-Academic team, saw action in 16 games with five starts. She recorded six shots with one coming on goal.
The three seniors will join all-conference selections juniors Laura Clark (Lapeer, Mich.) and Jordan Mazzi (Galena, Ohio) as well as sophomore and last year's GLIAC Freshman of the Year Lauren Pratt (West Chester, Ohio) as the top returners for the Panthers.
Saginaw Valley State University
Head Coach: Drago Dumbovic
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 3rd
OVERVIEW: The SVSU women's soccer team looks to build on a solid 2012 season and improve towards a league championship and a return to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Fielding a roster that features only three seniors, the Cardinals have plenty of youth to go along with plenty of experience gained by their players last season, when they reached the GLIAC Championship Game and posted a runner-up finish.
Annie Aubrey returns as the team's leading goal scorer from last season, a year that saw her score eight goals while adding three assists, accounting for a team-high 19 points. Kelsey Burt, Shelby Thompson and Presley Tibbetts also provide the Cardinals with the starting experience they will need for the upcoming season.
The Cardinals open their season on the road at the Tusculum Pioneer Tournament in Greenville, Tennessee. They will square-off against California (Pa.) on Sept. 6 at 11:00 am before facing North Alabama on Sept. 7 in another 11:00 am tilt.
Head Coach: Paula Fantini
2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 8th
OVERVIEW: Tiffin returns 14 letter winners from a squad that qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the fifth straight year. In 2012, the Dragons posted their 15th straight winning season.
Junior Giulianne Domingues led the team with five goals. Junior Jourdan Larison keys a defense that surrendered just 24 goals during last season. Junior Hayley Coppola went 7-3 with 81 saves and recorded 2.5 shutouts.
Paula Fantini is in her fourth season as the head coach at Tiffin University. She is 30-22-7 with the Dragons.
Drew Plummer and Kendra Eitniear earned all-region honors at Owens CC (Ohio). Eitniear was named to the NJCAA All-American team in 2011.
Head Coach: Dave Renard
2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll Rank: 11th
OVERVIEW: Walsh enters its second season as a member of the GLIAC under the guidance of Head Coach Dave Renard, who is in his third year at the helm after two years as an assistant. Last season, he led the Cavaliers to a 9-6-2 record with a 5-6-2 GLIAC record. Walsh returns 16 letter winners, but returns four starters from last year's squad after graduating nine seniors.
The offense will once again look to sophomore Jessie Gearhart (5-9, Wadsworth, OH/HS) for goals. She led the team in goals scored with seven and points scored with 15. Four of those goals were game-winners, all of which came in 1-0 decisions. Senior leader and the team's best playmaker Lauren Jokovich (5-4, Canton, OH/Jackson) will guide the midfield and help set up the offense. Sophomore Lindsey Smith (5-7, Massillon, OH/Jackson) is expected to be solid again at center back.
The Cavaliers have six consecutive home games to start the season, but they will come against talented competition. The first weekend features games against St. Thomas Aquinas and West Virginia Wesleyan. The conference opener will be against Northwood University on Friday, Sept. 20.