8.19.14 WOMEN'S SOCCER: GLIAC Preseason Poll Puts Cavs at 10th

Women's Soccer, 2014-08-19

(BAY CITY, Mich.) – The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) head women’s soccer coaches chose Walsh to finish 10th this season according to the preseason balloting released this morning.  Grand Valley State University was picked to repeat as champions once again after winning the 2013 national championship.

The league’s 13 head coaches participated in the balloting, but were not allowed to vote for their team.

Grand Valley State, nationally ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason poll, pulled away from Michigan Technological University by 18 points and collected 10 of the 13 first-place votes. Michigan Tech finished second in the preseason polls and received 123 points which included the other three first-place votes. Ohio Dominican was voted third in the polls with 112 points. A year removed from appearing in the GLIAC Tournament, Ferris State was voted fourth and tallied 107 points, followed closely by Ashland at 105.

Northern Michigan collected 91 points to finish sixth in the polls with Saginaw Valley State University falling just one point shy in seventh with 90 points. Tied with 59 points was Northwood and Findlay, with the Timberwolves edging out the Oilers for the eight spot based on the 2013 final standings. Walsh finished 10th in the polls with 45 points, while Tiffin grabbed 40 points to finish 11th.

Lake Erie earned 25 points for a 12th place finish, and rounding out the coaches poll was Malone University, tallying 17 points.

Third-year Head Coach David Renard returns 14 letter winners from the 2013 team that finished 6-9-3 overall and 3-8-1 in the GLIAC. Renard returns his top scorers in Jessie Gearhart (F/M, 5-9, Jr., Wadsworth, OH/HS) and Emily Durina (F, 5-6, Jr., Youngstown, OH/Austintown Fitch), who each tallied five goals.

Gearhart, who earned honorable mention All-GLIAC accolades and was named to All-Ohio NCAA ll team last season, also led the Cavs in total points (15), and has led the team in scoring in each of her first two years. She will play primarily at mid-field, but may also see time at forward. Durina should again start at forward.

Also back is the Cavs’ best playmaker Kristen Conti (F, 5-8, Jr., Hartville, OH/Lake). Conti, who is set to start at forward, tallied 10 points on three goals and a team-leading four assists. The return of Lea Jalbert (F, 5-5, So., Repenhgny, Canada/Felix-Leclerc) will provide a definite boost to the Cavs’ front line. Jalbert scored four goals in the first five games last season before she suffered a season-ending ACL injury.

The Cavs return goalkeepers Michaella Stucky (5-5, Jr., Medina, OH/HS) and Dani Shambaugh (5-7, So., Mechanicsburg, OH/Cumberland Valley). The duo shared goaltending duties most of last season. The Cavs also return top defenders in Lindsay Smith (5-7, Jr., Massillon, OH/Jackson) Emma Mallets (5-8, So., Mechanicsburg, OH/ Mechanicsburg Area), and Dana Ward (5-5, Jr., Canal Fulton, OH/Jackson).

GLIAC women’s soccer teams open play on Thursday, Sept. 4, with the Cavs going on the road to square off against Wheeling Jesuit of the Mountain East Conference.