GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Idaho State and Portland State have been picked to repeat as league co-champions in the 2013 Big Sky Conference soccer coaches preseason poll released on Wednesday afternoon.
ISU and PSU, which shared the 2012 Big Sky regular season championship with Montana, each received 68 points to top the preseason poll. ISU garnered four first-place votes while PSU received one.
After securing a three-way share of last year’s regular season crown with a 6-2-1 record, ISU went on to host and win the conference tournament en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bengals return the reigning Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in Alison Gibson, the 2012 co-Offensive MVP in Amanda Ellsworth, and the 2012 Championship MVP in Sheridan Hapsic.
PSU also went 6-2-1 last season on its way to the fourth regular season crown in program history. Sixth-year head coach Laura Schott will return six starters and 19 letterwinners from last year’s team.
North Dakota received 10 points and finished 10th in the preseason poll. UND went 2-13-1 overall and 0-9 in its first season of Big Sky membership, but welcomes a new coaching staff led by head coach Matt Kellogg. Kellogg came to UND from Ferris State University, where inherited a program that had gone 3-13-3 and guided them to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament in each of his three seasons at the helm. In 2012, Kellogg’s Bulldgos went 9-7-3 and advanced to the GLIAC semifinals for only the second time in program history.
Kellogg returns 15 starters from last year’s team, including junior goalkeeper Kristi Hestdalen, who ranked second in the Big Sky in saves and saves per game in 2012. UND opens the 2013 season Aug. 23-25 against Xavier and Akron at Purdue’s Boilermaker Challenge Cup.
|Big Sky Preseason Soccer Poll|
|T1.||Idaho State||68 (4)|
|Portland State||68 (1)|
|4.||Weber State||58 (2)|
|6.||Northern Arizona||43 (1)|
|(Number of first place votes in parentheses)|