Aug. 11, 2009
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette women's soccer team was selected to finish third in the American Division in the 2009 BIG EAST preseason women's soccer poll announced Tuesday by conference officials.
The votes were cast by the league's 16 head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own team or players.
Notre Dame and West Virginia were tabbed as the favorites as the Irish received all 15 first-place votes and were picked to win the National Division, while the Mountaineers received 13 first-place votes and were picked to win the American Division. Both programs also won their respective divisions last year.
Marquette picked up 95 points - the fifth highest total behind Notre Dame, West Virginia, Connecticut and Rutgers.
The Golden Eagles capped the 2008 campaign with an 11-8-3 overall record, 6-3-2 in BIG EAST play, and earned their seventh NCAA Tournament berth. Marquette finished second in the American Division standings and advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals for the third time in program history.
Marquette looks to have one of its most experienced squads in program history as it welcomes back 22 letterwinners and eight starters from a season ago. Junior forward Ashley Bares is the top returning scorer after leading MU with 12 points on five goals and two assists, followed by junior Julia Victor and sophomore Danielle Martens who each tallied three goals and two assists. The Golden Eagles return 12 additional players who tallied at least a point in 2008. Eight newcomers join the squad in 2009.
In goal, Marquette will have two veterans between the pipes as sophomore Natalie Kulla and senior Chelsey Turner split time last season and are both back for 2009. Kulla totaled over 1,477 minutes in net while compiling a 9-5-2 overall mark, six shutouts and a 0.79 goals against average. Turner made five starts while seeing action in nine games. She earned a 2-3-1 overall record, one shutout and a 0.86 goals against average. The duo combined to help Marquette post nine shutouts in 2008.
The team opened training camp on Friday, Aug. 7, and will play at Wisconsin for an exhibition match on Saturday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m., at McClimon Soccer Complex. The Golden Eagles return to Milwaukee to participate in the Marquette soccer program's third annual Fan Fest at Valley Fields on Sunday, Aug. 16. Gates open 2:30 and the women will play an intra-squad scrimmage at 3 p.m.
Marquette will open the season on the road for the first time since the 1999 season in Malibu, Calif., at Pepperdine at 5 p.m. CT/3 p.m. PT, on Sunday, Aug. 23.
2009 BIG EAST Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. West Virginia (13)
2. Connecticut (3)
4. St. John's
1. Notre Dame (15)
2. Rutgers (2)
7. Seton Hall