Aug. 16, 2005
CLEVELAND -- Miami University's women's soccer team was tabbed to finish eighth in the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches poll, the conference office announced today. Kent State, the defending MAC regular-season co-champion, was selected to repeat as champion for the 2005 season.
The RedHawks return nine starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 8-9-2 overall (6-5-2 in the MAC) and qualified for the MAC Tournament. Miami will have to replace the scoring of two-time MAC Player of the Year Ashley Swinehart, but head coach Bobby Kramig believes the veteran presence of two seniors and 10 juniors will make up for her absence.
"It's difficult to replace a player like Ashley, but I look at this year's team as being more balanced," Kramig said. "We've got a veteran team coming back this year, and that is something we haven't had in the last couple of years."
Miami also boasts a talented sophomore class as forward Lindy Slinger (Dublin, Ohio/Coffman) and defender Jaclyn Levant (Lexington, Ohio/Lexington) were both MAC All-Freshman honorees in 2004. Slinger is the top returning offensive threat as she led the team in assists (4) and was second in points (12) and goals (4).
Ohio, the defending MAC regular-season co-champion with Kent State, was picked to finish second. Western Michigan, Bowling Green--the MAC representative in the NCAA Tournament last year--and Central Michigan round out the top five. The Chippewas ended the RedHawks' season in the MAC Quarterfinals and finished as the MAC Tournament runner-up.
Eastern Michigan and Ball State were tabbed sixth and seventh, respectively. Following Miami, Buffalo and Toledo were picked ninth and tenth, while Akron (11th) and Northern Illinois (12th) finished out the preseason poll.
The RedHawks open their exhibition season Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Miami Soccer Field against the Cincinnati Bearcats. Their regular-season opener is slated for Aug. 28 at Louisville.
2005 MAC Preseason Poll
1. Kent State
3. Western Michigan
4. Bowling Green
5. Central Michigan
6. Eastern Michigan
7. Ball State
12. Northern Illinois