MADISON, Wis.--Two-time defending champion, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the preseason favorite to win the 2010 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women's soccer title, according to the league's sports information directors.
UW-Stevens Point, ranked No. 19 in a NCAA Division III preseason poll conducted by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), received seven first-place votes in the WIAC ballot. The Pointers own a league-high 13 first-place trophies and have amassed 11 unblemished seasons in conference play.
This year's squad returns 10 starters from last season's unit that allowed only two goals in the eight-match league slate. Sophomore forward Kirsti Nickels ranked second in the WIAC with 15 goals and 39 points. Head coach Sheila Miech is the league's longest-tenured coach with 23 seasons and 336 wins to her credit. The 336 victories rank fifth on the NCAA Division III all-time chart.
UW-Eau Claire claimed the remaining two first-place votes in the league poll and is slotted for second in the nine-team derby. The Blugolds have claimed three WIAC crowns and placed second seven times. The Blugolds return their top-six point scorers from last season, including 40 of the team's 50 goals. In 2009, UW-Eau Claire claimed a NSCAA Team Ethics Silver Award, given to teams that accumulated no red cards and a maximum of five yellow cards during the season.
UW-Whitewater has placed in the top four of the WIAC ledger each of the last three years and reach double-digits in wins all three seasons. This year's squad is features junior forward Emily Gerber who became the first player in program listings to earn WIAC Player of the Year honors. She topped the conference with school records of 24 goals and 49 points. The Warhawks also received a NSCAA Team Ethics Silver Award in 2009. Head coach Greg Henschel is the winningest coach in team history with 101 wins.
UW-Oshkosh returns 10 of its 11 starters from 2009, including six who started all 19 matches. Players who combined to score 31 of UW-Oshkosh's 32 goals return to this year's team. In addition, players who combined to total 19 of UW-Oshkosh's 23 assists are also back. Since 2000, UW-Oshkosh has had just one losing season and finished fourth or higher in the WIAC standings eight times. Head coach Erin Coppernoll needs 11 victories to reach 100 in her career.
UW-River Falls totaled 39 goals during the 2009 campaign and returns every player that tallied a goal. In addition, the Falcons welcome back seven of the top eight point producers. The Falcons will play four of their first six and three of their last four matches at home. Head coach Sean McKuras is the longest tenured coach in team history and owns a school-best 80 victories.
UW-Stout's 2010 roster features five of the six leading scorers from the 2009 club and one of the largest recruiting classes (15) in head coach Meagan Frank's five seasons. The Blue Devils dropped 10 matches by one goal, including three overtime contests and were beaten by more than two goals just once.
UW-La Crosse returns 10 of its 13 players who recorded a point last year, including the top four. Sophomore forward Lindsay Wilde led the squad in goals, assists and points. The Eagles lost four matches by one goal in 2009 and went 3-5-1 at its newly constructed Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex.
UW-Platteville returns 17 letterwinners and eight starters - both totals are the second-most in school history. Enzo Fuschino returns to the coaching box after a heart attack forced him to miss the 2009 campaign. The Pioneers defeated UW-La Crosse and tied UW-Oshkosh for the first time in program history a year ago, breaking a 0-18-1 streak against the Eagles and a 0-16 mark against the Titans. Senior forward Allie Metcalfe needs six goals to become the program's all-time leader in that category.
UW-Superior's 2010 schedule features a school-record tying 10 matches at home (also in 1997 and 2006) and commences with five of six matches on the road. The Yellowjackets own a 33-17-3 record against non-conference opponents over the last five years.
Courtesy: WIAC Press Release