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Penn State Favorite In 2020-21 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll

by | Feb 17, 2021 | Headlines, Soccer Blogs | 0 comments

Penn State Favorite In 2020-21 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll

Big Ten Players to Watch List includes six candidates for M.A.C. Hermann Trophy

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Penn State is the preseason choice to win the 2020-21 Big Ten Conference women’s soccer championship, according to a poll of the Big Ten coaches released Wednesday.

The reigning Big Ten Tournament champion Nittany Lions, who have also won 19 conference titles, were selected first in the 2020-21 Big Ten preseason poll by the conference’s 14 head coaches. Defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin, which is coming off its first outright conference title since 1994 and third overall, finished second in this year’s preseason poll, while last season’s Big Ten Tournament runner-up Michigan was chosen third.

Each of the top three teams in this year’s Big Ten preseason poll advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 16 in 2019, with PSU doing so for the 16th time and fifth in six seasons, Wisconsin for the second year in a row and Michigan for the first time since 2013.

Rounding out the top five in the team balloting were Rutgers and Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights tied for second in last year’s Big Ten regular-season standings before reaching the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive season and 14th time overall. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes are just a season removed from a run of four straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Also on Wednesday, the conference unveiled the 2020-21 Big Ten Players to Watch List, as selected by the conference coaches. Highlighting the list are three 2019 United Soccer Coaches All-Americans in first-team senior forward Amirah Ali of Rutgers and senior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer of Wisconsin, as well as second-team senior midfielder Sarah Stratigakis from Michigan.

In addition, more than one-third (15) of the students on the 2020-21 Big Ten Players to Watch List are returning all-conference selections, including last season’s Big Ten Midfielder of the Year (Stratigakis) and Goalkeeper of the Year (Bloomer). What’s more, the Big Ten Players to Watch List features 21 Academic All-Big Ten selections, eight Big Ten Distinguished Scholars and six students (Ali, Bloomer, Stratigakis, Michigan’s Alia Martin, Penn State’s Sam Coffey and Wisconsin’s Maia Cella) who were named to the 2020-21 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List.

The 2020-21 Big Ten women’s soccer season, which features teams playing an 11-game schedule entirely against conference opponents, kicks off Thursday when Illinois and Purdue meet at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind. (2 p.m. ET). The majority of other conference schools will begin their seasons over the weekend, beginning a seven-week run towards the four-team Big Ten Tournament that will be played April 15 & 18 on the campus of the highest seed.

Here’s a look at the complete 2020-21 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll and Players to Watch List:

2020-21 BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL

1. Penn State

2. Wisconsin

3. Michigan

4. Rutgers

5. Ohio State

6. Iowa

7. Northwestern

8. Indiana

9. Nebraska

10. Illinois

11. Purdue

12. Maryland

13. Minnesota

14. Michigan State

2020-21 BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST

Hope Breslin, Sr., M, Illinois

Ashley Cathro, So., D, Illinois

Makena Silber, Jr., F, Illinois

Anna Aehling, Fr., D, Indiana

Jen Blitchok, Fr., F, Indiana

Avery Lockwood, So., M, Indiana

Samantha Cary, So., D, Iowa

Hailey Rydberg, Jr., M, Iowa

Sara Wheaton, Jr., D, Iowa

Malikae Dayes, Sr., D, Maryland

Mikayla Dayes, Sr., F, Maryland

Alyssa Poarch, Jr., F, Maryland

Raleigh Loughman, Jr., M, Michigan

Alia Martin, Sr., D, Michigan

Sarah Stratigakis, Sr., M, Michigan

Lauren Kozal, So., GK, Michigan State

Bria Schrotenboer, So., D, Michigan State

Gia Wahlberg, Jr., F, Michigan State

Sophia Boman, Fr., M, Minnesota

Katie Duong, So., M, Minnesota

Makenzie Langdok, Sr., F, Minnesota

Grace Brown, Sr., D, Nebraska

Dakota Chan, Jr., M, Nebraska

Kenzie Coons, Jr., M, Nebraska

Regan Steigleder, Sr., M, Northwestern

Olivia Stone, Jr., F, Northwestern

Mackenzie Wood, Jr., GK, Northwestern

Kayla Fischer, Jr., F, Ohio State

Peyton McNamara, Fr., M, Ohio State

Izzy Rodriguez, Sr., D, Ohio State

Kerry Abello, Sr., F, Penn State

Sam Coffey, Sr., M, Penn State

Frankie Tagliaferri, Sr., M, Penn State

Marisa Bova, Jr., GK, Purdue

Sarah Griffith, Jr., F, Purdue

Grace Walsh, Jr., M, Purdue

Amirah Ali, Sr., F, Rutgers

Nneka Moneme, Sr., F, Rutgers

Meagan McClelland, Jr., GK, Rutgers

Jordyn Bloomer, Sr., GK, Wisconsin

Maia Cella, Sr., M, Wisconsin

Cameron Murtha, Sr., F, Wisconsin