Preseason Favorites


By Tim Goodenow for WVUsports.com
August 09, 2011 02:12 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University women’s soccer team has been chosen to win the BIG EAST division title, conference officials announced on Tuesday.

“It’s a nice compliment to be chosen first in one of the best conferences in the country,” says coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “However, we have yet to play a game and our division is very deep with several top teams. Every conference game is a battle and we are looking forward to the challenge of winning our fifth division crown.”

The Mountaineers garnered eight of the 16 first-place votes in voting done by the league’s head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players or teams.

WVU edged out Marquette (5) and Connecticut (3) in the American Division, followed by USF, Providence, St. John’s, Syracuse and Pitt.

Notre Dame, the 2010 national champions, received 15 first-place votes and was picked to win the National Division. Georgetown (1) was chosen second, followed by Rutgers, Louisville, Villanova, DePaul, Seton Hall and Cincinnati.

The Mountaineers landed one all-conference preseason selection in midfielder Bri Rodriguez. The junior was named first team all-BIG EAST after a seven-goal, seven-assist effort in 2010.

The 2011 women’s soccer season kicks off Aug. 19, with BIG EAST play set to begin on Sept. 15. The BIG EAST is the nation’s largest Division I women's soccer conference. Its 16 members compete in an 11-game schedule within two divisions of eight utilizing travel partners for crossover play. Each team plays the seven opponents within its division and four opponents from the other division.

The 2011 BIG EAST Women's Soccer Championship is a 10-team single-elimination tournament. The top five teams in each division, seeded by conference point total, qualify for the conference championship. The top three teams in each division earn first-round byes to the quarterfinals. The first-round and quarterfinal games are conducted on the campuses of the higher-seeded teams.

First-round games will be held on Oct. 27, with the quarterfinals following on Oct. 30. West Virginia’s Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va., will serve as host for the semifinals (Nov. 4) as well as the championship game (Nov. 6). The final three matches of the championship will be televised live on the CBS Sports Network (CBS SN). The tournament champion receives the league’s automatic berth into the 64-team NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship.

BIG EAST American Division
1. West Virginia (8)
2. Marquette (5)
3. Connecticut (3)
4. USF
5. Providence
6. St. John’s
7. Syracuse
8. Pitt

BIG EAST National Division
1. Notre Dame (15)
2. Georgetown (1)
3. Rutgers
4. Louisville
5. Villanova
6. DePaul
t7. Seton Hall
t7. Cincinnati

2011 BIG EAST Preseason Award Winners
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
*Melissa Henderson, Sr., F, Notre Dame

Preseason Defensive Players of the Year
Kerry McBride, Sr., D, Marquette
Jessica Schuveiller, Sr., D, Notre Dame

Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year
Natalie Kulla, Sr., Marquette

2011 ALL-BIG EAST Preseason 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
* - unanimous selection



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