ADRIAN, Mich. – The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) has announced the results of the 2014 women's soccer preseason poll and the Bulldogs check in fifth out of nine teams in the conference as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Bulldogs have a strong nucleus back but will feel the effects of losing a quartet of seniors from the 2013 season. Two-time MIAA Player of the Year Sam Barker with her all-time goal scorer records in program history will be missed the greatest. Barker was a starter since her freshman campaign and was a three-time First Team All-MIAA performer. Abby Doebel and Alanna Chambry also turned in good seasons a year ago.
"The poll largely asks a question in the minds of other coaches in the league," said Ali Alamdari who will guide the program into his seventh season as head coach. "How will we replace the tangibles left by last year's seniors and in particular one of the best players in conference history in Barker. I know we have players who can fill in and provide needed scoring. I think we need to solidify the back end and play more consistent defense. We were young last year on defense and experience should help us moving into this year."
Senior Erin Weide (Madison Heights, Mich./Bishop Foley) enters her final season as someone who will be asked to do a bulk of the team's scoring. Weide has no troubles in that category as she ranked second on the team last season with 13 goals. Weide is a former MIAA Most Valuable Player from 2012 during her sophomore year and combined with Barker to win the last three league MVP awards. She has garnered First Team All-MIAA honors during her first three seasons at Adrian College.
Senior Ellery Karsten (St. Joseph, Mich.) has shown glimpses of promise and could step into a bigger offensive role. Karsten scored five goals and added four assists to rank fourth on the team in points a year ago. The team lost 25 goals to graduation which was roughly 53 percent of the team's goal production.
Becky Reynolds (Northville, Mich.), Aly Masciovecchio (Riverview, Mich.) and Sophie Rammal (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) are a trio of seniors that have a ton of experience and combined to start in 44 matches last year. Reynolds and Rammal are midfielders by trade but could be asked to bolster the offense and put the ball in the net. Masciovecchio is the most experienced defender and will anchor that area of the field.
The Bulldogs also return a trio of junior goalkeepers who all saw action last year. Lexi Lewandowski (Rochester Hills, Mich./Adams) played in 16 matches and made 15 starts before her season ended late due to injury. If she can return to form after the injury, she will likely again be the top choice to protect the goal. Lewandowski posted a 1.17 goals-against average and made 66 saves last season. Taylor Royce (Coopersville, Mich.) made four starts in place of Lewandowski and posted 41 saves and a 2.18 goals-against average.
Poll Results (first-place votes in parenthesis): 1. Calvin (8) 8 pts. 2. Hope (1) 15. 3. Alma 23. 4. Saint Mary's 33. 5. Adrian 35. 6. Kalamazoo 42. 7. Albion 50. 8. Olivet 56. 9. Trine 62.
MIAA teams will begin non-conference action Friday, Aug. 29, with the first conference matches set for Monday, Sept. 8.