Today Marquette announced the results of two preseason women's soccer votes. First up, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) released their NCAA preseason rankings. Marquette comes in at #12. That makes them the second highest ranked Big East team, with Notre Dame's defending national champion squad taking the #1 ranking. Two more Big East teams made it into the top 25, with West Virginia at #13 and Georgetown at #23.
A little bit later, Marquette announced the results of the Big East's preseason polling. Marquette was picked to finish 2nd in the American Division after two consecutive American Division titles for the Golden Eagles. Marquette received 5 first place votes compared to defending Big East champion West Virginia's 8 and Connecticut's 3. When the points are totaled up, Marquette finished just 2 points shy of West Virginia, 110-108.
In individual preseason honors, Marquette players grabbed 2 nods. Goalkeeper Natalie Kulla was named the preseason top netminder for the second consecutive season. The senior is coming off a season where she posted 10 shutouts (5 against Big East teams) en route to a 0.88 goals against average. Fellow senior Kerry McBride was named preseason co-defensive player of the year, sharing the award with Notre Dame's Jessica Schuveiller. McBride anchored a Marquette backline that allowed only 4 shots on goal per game in the 2010 season.
To cover the rest of the preseason voting, Notre Dame was a unanimous choice to win the National Division, other than the 1 vote that Notre Dame's Randy Waldrum was forced to send Georgetown's way since he couldn't vote for his own team. This marks the 16th consecutive season that Notre Dame has picked to finish first, continuing the streak they started the year they joined the Big East. ND senior forward Melissa Henderson was named preseason offensive player of the year for the third consecutive season, and this time the voting was unanimous. Henderson's unanimous selection was the first unanimous voting for offensive player since Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks achieved that feat in 2007.
We'll wrap up with a full listing of the 2011 Preseason All Big East Team:
Kelly D’Ambrisi, Sr., M, Georgetown
Christine Exeter, So., F, Louisville
Jonelle Filigno, R-So., F, Rutgers
Melissa Henderson, Sr., F, Notre Dame
Chelsea Klotz, Sr., F, USF
Natalie Kulla, Sr., GK, Marquette
Kerry McBride, Sr., D, Marquette
Bri Rodriguez, Jr., M, West Virginia
Katie Ryan, Sr., F, Villanova
Jessica Schuveiller, Sr., D, Notre Dame
Ingrid Wells, R-Sr., M, Georgetown