We’re inching towards the start of the 2016 collegiate women’s soccer schedule, so that means it’s time for preseason polls. Well, technically, last week Tuesday was time for the preseason poll from the National Soccer Coaches Association Of America (NSCAA) poll, but it slipped past us.
How did that happen? Well, it happened mostly because not a single team in the Big East got so much as one single 25th place vote.
I suppose this shouldn’t be entirely surprising. Georgetown and DePaul would be the two primary candidates for the ballot, and neither of them were in the top 25 at the end of last season. Both of those squads are taking a step backwards from a depth perspective, at least until we see what the freshmen can provide, so it’s hard to make a claim that either the Hoyas or the Blue Demons deserve a vote.
While none of Marquette’s conference competition picked up votes in the preseason top 25, the same can not be said for the rest of the schedule. The Golden Eagles will face two teams that are ranked, and they’ll play both teams three days apart. Marquette opens up September with a trip to California where they’ll first play #21 Santa Clara on September 1st. Three days later, they’ll be 20 miles to the northwest to tangle with #5 Stanford. The Cardinal are coming off of an Elite 8 appearance last season and are the preseason favorites to win the Pac-12 again this year.
There are also two teams receiving votes in the NSCAA’s poll on the non-conference side of the schedule. Marquette’s first home game of the year will be against Michigan on August 28th, and the Wolverines picked up seven points in the balloting, making them the unofficial #34 team in the country. MU also has a Sunday afternoon road tilt against Northwestern on the schedule in early September, and if the Wildcats get off to a strong start, they’ll likely move up into the top 25 from their 18 points and unofficial #29 preseason ranking.
You can check out the full top 25 and list of teams that earned votes right here.