Knights Match Highest Ranking in Preseason Poll

Knights Match Highest Ranking in Preseason Poll

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)

Rank School Prev.  W-L-T
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
6 Barry University 6  15-3-1
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
10 Bellarmine University 10 17-3-2
11 Carson-Newman University 11 19-3-0
12 Azusa Pacific University 12 16-3-0
13 Adelphi University 13 18-3-2
14 St. Edward’s University 14 13-6-1
15 University Of Tampa 15 12-5-5
16 Angelo State 16 14-3-1
17 Augustana University 17 18-3-1
18 University of North Alabama 18 14-3-2
19 University of North Georgia 19 16-4-1
20 Edinboro University 20 16-8-0
21 Gannon University 21 18-3-0
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