Washburn Heads MIAA Soccer Poll

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Defending conference champion and NCAA Division II Central Region finalist Washburn University is the team to beat in the 2007 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association women's soccer season, according to the coaches preseason poll.

Washburn, which snapped the seven-year run of Truman State University as the MIAA's only champion, edged Missouri Southern for the top spot in the ranking, 43-41. The Lady Blues collected four of the seven available first-place votes (coaches cannot vote for their own teams). Washburn returns the league's top scorer and '06 Most Valuable Player, junior F Jessica Mainz (13 goals, 4 assists, 30 points).

The Lions, also a regional qualifier in 2006, picked up two first-place ballots with the other two top nods going to Central Missouri in third with 37 points. The Jennies, the MIAA's third regional qualifier last season, will have a new coach as Lewis Theobald replaces Geoff VanDeusen.

Southwest Baptist edged Truman for fourth place by a 33-31 count. The Lady Bearcats have senior GK Aline Lopes (0.52 GAA, Division II-best .903 save percentage) back between the pipes, while the Bulldogs can boast of last season's MIAA Freshman of the Year in sophomore F Jessica Wiegert (10-5-25).

The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats have a new name behind the bench -- but same coach -- as Tracy (Cross) Hoza's squad was picked sixth in the poll following their first non-losing season in school history. Northwest has to replace 74 percent of their goal production from 2006.

Emporia State was seventh in the poll withe 14 points, while Missouri Western finished the survey in eighth with seven points.

The league will conduct its first postseason women's soccer tournament in 2007, with the top four teams making the bracket. The event will take place Nov. 3-4 and be hosted by the regular season champion.

2007 MIAA Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll

School Pts.
1. Washburn (4)................... 43
2. Missouri Southern (2).......... 41
3. Central Missouri (2)........... 37
4. Southwest Baptist.............. 33
5. Truman......................... 31
6. Northwest Missouri State....... 18
7. Emporia State.................. 14
8. Missouri Western............... 7

Points awarded on an 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.
Coaches could not vote for their own school.

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