Adam Pruiett, Bellarmine University Athletics
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Bellarmine University women’s soccer team concluded last season with its highest ranking ever in program history. That will also be the starting point for the upcoming season for the Knights.
On the heels of its first Division II NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run, Bellarmine is ranked 10th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America preseason poll. The Knights were a top-25 fixture in 2015 and cracked the top 10 in the final set of rankings after advancing to the Midwest Region title game and being edged 2-1 by eventual national champion Grand Valley State.
“While it is cool to see our name in the preseason national rankings, we’ll take it for what it’s worth, which is really just one more acknowledgement of the work last year’s group put in,” said Knights Coach Chris Tinius, the reigning NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year. “The list is the same as the end of last season. The reality is we are all about to start the process all over again. So far this year’s group has yet to win a game, make it through a practice or even have to show up for a meeting on time. We’ll start with the simple things when everyone gets back in a couple weeks and hopefully in October and November we’re still being considered.”
In addition to its unprecedented Sweet 16 berth, Bellarmine captured its first-ever Great Lakes Valley Conference regular-season championship. The Knights set or matched a bevy of program records, including overall victories (17), GLVC wins (12), GLVC win percentage (86.7), unbeaten streak (13) and shutouts (15).
Bellarmine returns a majority of its roster, including 2015 All-GLVC selections Mary Beth Gorham, Lauren Holder, Lexy Hazle, Sydney Kraus and Taylor Smith. Gorham was named the GLVC Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American. Holder and Smith joined her on the All-Midwest Region teams.
Grand Valley State is ranked No. 1 in the preseason followed by Columbus State, Western Washington, Bridgeport and Central Missouri. In addition to the Knights, Truman State is ranked 25th from the GLVC while Quincy received votes.
Bellarmine opens the season on Sept. 2 against Lincoln Memorial at neutral-site Columbus State.
2016 NSCAA PRESEASON POLL
(Records shown are the team’s final 2015 record. Also receiving votes: College of Saint Rose, Quincy, West Florida, Armstrong State, Fort Lewis, Texas A&M-Commerce, Minot State, Seattle Pacific)
|1||Grand Valley State University||1||24-1-0|
|2||Columbus State University||2||23-3-1|
|3||Western Washington University||3||21-2-1|
|4||University Of Bridgeport||4||20-2-1|
|5||University of Central Missouri||5||21-2-0|
|7||Dallas Baptist University||7||14-4-3|
|8||Minnesota State University-Mankato||8||18-2-1|
|9||East Stroudsburg University||9||13-7-2|
|12||Azusa Pacific University||12||16-3-0|
|14||St. Edward’s University||14||13-6-1|
|15||University Of Tampa||15||12-5-5|
|18||University of North Alabama||18||14-3-2|
|19||University of North Georgia||19||16-4-1|
|22||West Virginia Wesleyan||22||17-1-3|
|23||Colorado School Of Mines||23||15-5-2|
|24||Sonoma State University||24||14-3-3|
|25||Truman State University||25||15-4-4|