CLEVELAND - Defending champion Toledo has been picked to win both the regular season and tournament titles in the 2009 MAC women's soccer preseason poll voted on by the head coaches and released by the conference office on Wednesday, August 19. The Rockets picked up 10 votes to win the MAC Tournament Championship, while Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green each received one vote each to win the tournament title.
Toledo head coach Brad Evans returns 17 letterwinners, including eight starters from a season ago, when the Midnight Blue posted a 16-5-1 overall mark, including an 8-2-1 league ledger. UT set school records for most wins and fewest losses in a season, shutouts (12) and goals-against average (0.94), as well as establishing a school-record with an 11-match unbeaten streak. The Rockets could make MAC history this season and surpass Miami as the only school to win four-consecutive titles.
CMU will see nine letterwinners and eight starters from last season's squad back on the field in 2009. The returners are led by first team All-MAC performers in seniors Amanda Waugh and Stephanie Martin, two elite attackers who each finished in the top four in the MAC in scoring a year ago. The Maroon and Gold also return a pair of All-MAC second team selections in goalkeeper Shay Mannino and defender Liesel Toth along with MAC All-Freshman Team pick Claire Horton.
Bowling Green welcomes back 19 letterwinners, including nine starters, from last year's club that finished 12-6-4 overall and 6-3-2 in MAC action. The 2008 team's overall winning percentage of .636 was the second best in school history, and last year's team set a school record for fewest losses in a season. Sophomore Alyssa Zuccaro is the Falcons' top returning goal scorer, with five, while classmate Megan Amann is the leading returnee in terms of points (12).
Eastern Michigan was selected to finish fourth, while Miami was picked to place fifth. Kent State, Northern Illinois and Ohio were tabbed to place sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. Western Michigan, Ball State, Akron and Buffalo rounded out this year's poll.
MAC regular season action begins on Friday, August 21 with five schools taking the field against non-conference opponents. The first conference matches will kick off on Friday, September 25, while the season will conclude with the MAC Tournament on November 1st (first round games), 6th (semifinals) and 8th (finals).
2009 MAC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
2. Central Michigan
3. Bowling Green
4. Eastern Michigan
6. Kent State
7. Northern Illinois
9. Western Michigan
10. Ball State
Tournament Champion: Toledo (10), Eastern Michigan (1), Bowling Green (1)