KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Southern women’s soccer team is slotted alongside the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats for the No. 11 spot in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Coaches Preseason Poll announced Tuesday afternoon.
The Lions return three seniors in goalkeeper Luz Galindo, defender Brianna Smith, and forward Jessica Edwards. They also bring back six juniors and four sophomores for 13 players total which includes All-MIAA selection and last year’s leader in points sophomore forward Bailey Belcher. Belcher scored a team-high six goals and added an assist to end her freshman season.
Joining them are nine newcomers on top of new head coach Aaron Tilsen and assistant coach Patrick Ritter. The coaches bring a combined 25-plus years of coaching experience at numerous levels and are set to kick off a new era of MSSU women’s soccer after the team finished 7-8-3 last season.
Tilsen spent the last two years assisting Minnesota State – Mankato as coach of the goalkeepers where the Mavericks finished third nationally in shutouts, fourth in goals against average, and eighth in save percentage to close out the 2017 season. The momentum continued into 2018 toward an overall record of 19-3-1 for the second most wins in program history.
Ritter coached the defense of the Southern University Jaguars to school records in goals allowed and goals allowed average in addition to holding opponents below 2.0 goals per game for the only time in program history.
Defending MIAA regular season and conference tournament champions Central Oklahoma sits atop of the rankings just two points ahead of last year’s runner up Central Missouri; both programs securing all first place votes with UCO taking seven and UCM getting five. Fort Hayes State (3), Emporia State (4), and Missouri Western (5) round out the top five as newcomers Rogers State and Newman University landed in sixth and eighth respectively.
The season officially opens on Friday, September 6 as they start their non-conference slate on the road against Southern Nazarene University before concluding the first weekend of the 2019 campaign versus Tilsen’s former team in MSU-Mankato on September 8 at 1:00 pm in Kansas City as part of the team’s only neutral site game of the regular season.
Below is the list of the entire poll (1-12).
2019 Preseason MIAA Women’s Soccer Coaches Poll
1. Central Oklahoma (7) – 117 points
2. Central Missouri (5) – 115 points
3. Fort Hays State – 93 points
4. Emporia State – 89 points
5. Missouri Western – 84 points
6. Rogers State – 63 points
7. Northeastern State – 61 points
8. Newman – 56 points
9. Washburn – 46 points
10. Nebraska Kearney – 28 points
T11. Missouri Southern – 20 points
T11. Northwest Missouri – 20 points
*Coaches Are Not Allowed To Vote For Their Own Team*