FREELAND, MICH. – The Trine women's soccer team was picked to finish seventh in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preseason Poll that was released today.
The Thunder received votes totaling 29 points to achieve the seventh spot in the poll. The point totals are determined by votes cast by the league's coaches, who cannot vote for their own team. Hope (Mich.) College finished first in the poll with 54 points and four first-place votes. Albion (Mich.) College finished second with 49 points and a first-place vote and Calvin (Mich.) College rounds out the top three with 46 points and one first-place vote.
"The conference coaches have picked us near the bottom each of the last few years, so we expected something similar this year" said Head Coach Terry Stefankiewicz, "But I think we will surprise some people this year."
Trine finished eighth last season, but will look to improve on that this year with seven returning starters and a host of young players who saw valuable playing time last season.
Second-team All-MIAA midfielder Gigi Jarratt (Valparaiso/Valparaiso) returns for her senior campaign, as the most decorated of the returning starters. The team's top scorer, Morgan Sanderson (Leo/Leo), returns after leading the team in points (15) and goals (seven) as a freshman.
Fellow sophomore Kristen Reece (Indianapolis/Roncalli) will look to make a bigger impact after a strong freshman outing with four goals and two assists. In addition Courtney Reece (Indianapolis/Roncalli), Kristen's sister, will join the team as a freshman.
The Thunder also have now familiar face in goal, as senior Kristina Veljovic (Valparaiso/Valparaiso) returns for her final year. Veljovic was named a MIAA "Defensive Player of the Week" last year and led the conference with an .842 save percentage. She also finished third with 139 saves after having led the league two seasons ago.
Trine opens the season with two early 7 p.m. contests played on Shive Field. These contests will take place on Friday, Sept. 1 against Manchester (Ind.) University and Saturday, Sept. 9 versus Albion in the conference opener.
2017 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll
|Place||School (First-Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Hope (Mich.) (4)||54|
|2.||Albion (Mich.) (1)||49|
|3.||Calvin (Mich.) (1)||46|
|4.||Kalamazoo (Mich.) (2)||40|
|9.||Saint Mary's (Ind.)||11|