ELMHURST, Ill. – League newcomer Denver has been selected as preseason favorites to capture the 2013 Summit League Women's Soccer Championship in a poll of the eight head coaches.
The Pioneers advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament last season after compiling a 17-3-4 record and welcome back two of its top three scorers from that team in Kristen Hamilton (14 G, 7 A) and Nicholette DiGiacomo (7 G, 9 A). Denver's ranked No. 20 (TopDrawerSoccer.com) and No. 25 (NSCAA/Continental Tires) in the national preseason polls.
Fort Wayne was picked second after advancing to its first league championship match a year ago. The Mastodons return all-tournament team honorees Rachel Good and Sydney Hoareau along with goalkeeper Sam Pavlika.
Western Illinois and North Dakota State, both 2012 Summit League Tournament participants, were selected third and fourth. The Fighting Leathernecks welcome back first team all-league selections Laura Atkinson and Amber Davis. The Bison have a pair of all-league recipients returning in Sierra Bonham and Anisha Kinnarath.
Regular season play kicks off on Aug. 23, with Summit League play beginning Oct. 4. The top four teams in the regular season standings will compete for The Summit League Women's Soccer Championship at the Hefner Soccer Complex in Fort Wayne, Ind., Nov. 8 & 10. The tournament champion will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Women's College Cup.
|2013 Summit League Women's Soccer Preseason Poll|
|Place||Team||Points (1st)||2012 Record|
|1.||Denver||49 (7)||17-3-4 (6-0-2 WAC)|
|2.||Fort Wayne||39 (1)||10-8-1 (5-2-1 SL)|
|3.||Western Illinois||34||13-6-0 (5-3-0 SL)|
|4.||North Dakota State||32||8-10-0 (5-3-0 SL)|
|5.||South Dakota State||30||6-9-2 (4-3-1 SL)|
|6.||Omaha||20||3-15-0 (3-5-0 SL)|
|7.||IUPUI||10||3-14-2 (1-5-2 SL)|
|South Dakota||10||2-13-3 (1-5-2 SL)|
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
In its fourth decade of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions, 62 All-Americans and 50 Academic All-America selections.