The 2013-14 Great Midwest Athletic Conference Women's Soccer season will be the G-MAC's first season as an active NCAA Division II conference, and the field of competitive teams has expanded from its inaugural season in 2012.
Trevecca Nazarene University returns as the defending G-MAC Tournament Champion, which featured a four-team field in 2012-13. The Trojans will have to step it up to work their way through a much deeper eight-team conference schedule to repeat as champion.
The Trojans were identified as the team to beat, topping the conference preseason coaches' poll. TNU edged conference newcomer Davis and Elkins College and Alderson Broaddus University, who had a tremendous amount of success last season in the WVIAC. Cedarville University along with the 2012 G-MAC runner-up Ursuline College ranked #4 and #5 respectively.
#6 Kentucky Wesleyan College, #7 Ohio Valley University, and #8 Salem International wrap up the G-MAC preseason coaches' poll as the three teams combined for seven wins in 2012. Each of the top five ranked teams had seven or more wins each.
G-MAC PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
|1.||Trevecca Nazarene University (4 First Place votes)||16-5-3||3-0-0|
|2.||Davis & Elkins College (1 First Place vote)||11-4-2||2-1-0|
|3.||Alderson Broaddus University (1 First Place vote)||13-5-1||4-0-0|
|4.||Cedarville University (2 First Place votes)||7-10-2||2-3-0|
|6.||Kentucky Wesleyan College||2-15-1||0-0-0|
|7.||Ohio Valley University||2-16-0||1-2-0|
|8.||Salem International University||3-13-0||0-4-0|
NOTES FROM CAMPUS
Alderson Broaddus University: In 2012, the Battlers won their first-ever WVIAC Regular-Season title in the conference's final season. AB set a program record with 13 wins, tied a program record with eight consecutive wins, had five different players earn a total of eight All-Region awards, and garnered 10 All-WVIAC awards - including six First Team All-WVIAC student-athletes.
Coming off a WVIAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament bid in 2011, a regular-season championship in 2012, AB is not to be overlooked. They come into the season going 4-0 against G-MAC opponents in 2012, the most wins among conference members versus 2013 conference opponents. Overall they have a career record of 17-3 versus the 2013 GMAC Women's Soccer programs.
However, those number can be deceiving as they have never played the likes of Trevecca Nazarene (G-MAC preseason #1), Cedarville (G-MAC preseason # 4), and Kentucky Wesleyan (G-MAC preseason #6).
The biggest priority will be for Head Coach Patrick McGinnis to replace the loss of 10 seniors and get the youth on his roster to play together quickly, as the Battler roster features 26 freshman and sophomores.
Cedarville University: Cedarville tackles its first full-fledged NCAA women's soccer schedule in 2013 featuring a 10-game conference slate and a return trip to Division I Youngstown State. Head Coach John McGillivray enters his 40th year of coaching at Cedarville University. He has won 215 matches in 24 years with the men and has tacked on 122 more victories in the past 15 years with the women.
The Lady Jackets return the G-MAC Offensive Player of the Year Jacoby Ziegler, who recorded one of the best rookie campaigns in Lady Jacket soccer history. Ziegler netted 13 goals and three assists for a team-leading 29 points while earning G-MAC First Team honors and the 2012 G-MAC Freshman of the Year award.
Deanne Bradshaw joined Ziegler on the G-MAC First Team scoring two goals and adding three assists for seven points while starting all 17 matches she appeared in, while junior midfielder Elise Hurley and sophomore defender Carly Gregory return to the squad as 2012 G-MAC Second Team performers.
Davis & Elkins College: Forward Taylor Morton was the 2012 WVIAC Freshman of the Year after leading the Senators to their best start in school history with seven wins to open the 2012 campaign, and remained one of the last unbeaten teams in the NCAA (DII) at 8-0-2. She finished second in the conference with 24 points with nine goals and six assists. Morton was also second in the league in points per game (1.41), goals (9), goals per game (0.53), assists (6) and assists per game (0.35).
D&E finished 11-4-2 overall, which included a 2-1 record against 2013 G-MAC opponents. Team Captain, Alison Bogar, who is a four-year starter, will guide sophomore Emma Davis, who earned All-WVIAC First Team and NSCAA Atlantic Region Second team honors, along with Morton, who captured All-WVIAC Second Team, and sophomore goalkeeper garnering All-WVIAC honorable mention honors, basically being named the conference third best goalkeeper.
Kentucky Wesleyan College: The Panthers are prepared for their first season in the G-MAC, coming over from the Great Lakes Valley Conference. In 2012, KWC did not face any of their 2013 G-MAC conference opponents, in fact you have to go back to September 22, 2007, a win over Ohio Valley, which was the last time Kentucky Wesleyan faced one of their seven G-MAC opponents.
The Panthers return leading goal scorer (5) and point total (12) from 2012, junior Paige Kramer, and Julia Klump, who had four goals. The team also returns sophomore goalkeeper Kathryn Dishion, who started 14 of the teams 16 games last season as a freshman.
As for the team's schedule, anything is possible as 10 of their 17 scheduled contests are against opponents they haven't faced in years, and two of the seven non-conference games are against programs in which they earned their two victories last season. Though unlikely to contend for a conference title, KWC could dramatically improve upon its 2012 overall record.
Ohio Valley University: The Fighting Scots are coming into the G-MAC and looking for a fresh start to the program. Having never faced Cedarville or Trevecca Nazarene, OVU's career record against its 2013 G-MAC opponents is a combined 6-23, with five of those wins coming against Salem International. Of course a majority of the losses come against Davis & Elkins who holds a 12-0 advantage over Ohio Valley.
The Scots welcome back leading goal scorer and points leader, senior Amanda Simpson, who will hopefully lead a group that will look to grow and move forward under Head Coach Jack Flynn, who enters his third season.
Salem International University: In 2012, as an independent program, the Tigers recorded an overall record of 3-13-0, going 0-4 against the four G-MAC members they faced. With only a few key losses to the roster, Salem will return goalkeeper Whitney Brydge, who recorded 118 saves in 2012, Brenda Rivera, who had six assists, and Alexandria McIntosh, who scored five goals.
The team features seven returners to go along with a talented group of freshmen and transfers. Second year coach Ernesto Ramirez is excited about the team and is looking for more success on the field this year as he continues to build the roster through recruiting, as well as working to improve the talent on the roster currently.
Trevecca Nazarene University : After the greatest season in Trevecca women's soccer history a year ago, the program will defend its G-MAC crown heading into 2013 with a new coach. Mark Foster, who is the only TNU men's soccer player to have his number retired, will move to the head women's soccer coaching position after serving as Brett Armstrong's assistant.
The Trojans will be led by a group of eight seniors, but will have to replace several starters including a majority of its defenders from last year's record-setting defense. The strength of this unit appears to be its front line with the return of all-conference performers Brooke Gann, Becky Bartos, and Anna Hoffman. Defensively, TNU returns just one starter in Erica Carroll. Help will come with Ryan Alosi returning from an injury last season and the 11 other returnees on the roster, plus the addition of four newcomers.
Ursuline College: The Arrows return 16 players from last year's club that finished 11-6 and G-MAC runner-up at the inaugural Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championship. Head Coach Jason Kubbins, who enters his eighth year, has brought in seven newcomers that will team with the veterans in an effort to earn the school's fifth-straight winning season.
Replacing voids left by goalkeeper Rachael Smith and All-Ohio defender Alix Shanks to graduation is a priority as the duo led a defense that surrendered less than a goal per game en route to a +17 goal differential. However, among the returners are sophomore forward Vanessa Consiglio, junior forward Paige Rowan, and junior midfielder Anna Feitl, all of whom earned All-G-MAC honors, while Feitl also added All-Ohio accolades.
Consiglio and Rowan are a tremendous pair on the offensive end, totaling 13 combined goals a year ago. Feitl was arguably UC's most technical and important player in 2012 as she ran the midfield portion of the attack. The schedule will be difficult in conference, but Ursuline will have an advantage late as it plays its final five conference matches in Pepper Pike, a place where they are 13-2-1 over the past two seasons.