CLEVELAND - Coming off a disappointing finish in 2011, the Miami University women's soccer team was picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference East Division, just behind Kent State, as the MAC released its 2012 women's soccer preseason coaches poll Thursday. Toledo is the favorite in the West Division according to the coaches poll.

Miami went 9-8-1 a season ago, its third straight winning season, but posted a 4-6-1 mark in MAC play as the 'Hawks finished ninth overall, missing the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2003. The RedHawks return much of their team from 2011 however, including three All-MAC performers in senior captain Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) and juniors Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio) and Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.). All three scored at least seven goals last year and were Miami's top three scorers. The RedHawks bring back a total of 13 letterwinners and nine players who started at least five games last year.

Kent State, the defending East Division champions, earned 64 points in the poll to take the top spot in the East Division. Miami totaled 52 points, just one more than Buffalo (51), which was selected third. Akron took the fourth spot in the poll with 35 points followed by Ohio in fifth with 33. Bowling Green rounded out the East Division poll with 17 points.

In the West Division, 2011 MAC champion Toledo was selected to repeat, picking up 69 points. Central Michigan was not far behind in second with 59 points while Western Michigan was third with 47. Ball State came in fourth in the poll with 33 points while Eastern Michigan (30) and Northern Illinois (14) rounded out the West Division in fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Rockets were also chosen to repeat as MAC Tournament champions, garnering five votes. Western Michigan and Central Michigan each received three votes to capture the MAC Tournament while Ball State had one vote. No MAC East school collected a vote to win the MAC Tournament.

Each of the conference's 12 head coaches voted in the poll with a first-place vote worth six points, a second-place vote worth five points and so on down to a sixth-place vote worth one point.

The RedHawks open the regular season Friday by hosting Xavier at 5 p.m. in the first of eight non-conference games. The match against the Musketeers will be streamed live on MURedHawks.com through the All-Access subscription package. Miami then begins MAC play Friday, Sep. 21 at home against Akron. The RedHawks have six home league matches compared to only five road contests. Miami dropped its lone exhibition match on Aug. 7, falling at Radford, 2-1, on a late goal that broke a 1-1 deadlock.

East Division
1. Kent State (64 points)
2. Miami (52)
3. Buffalo (51)
4. Akron (35)
5. Ohio (33)
6. Bowling Green (17)

West Division
1. Toledo (69)
2. Central Michigan (59)
3. Western Michigan (47)
4. Ball State (33)
5. Eastern Michigan (30)
6. Northern Illinois (14)

MAC Tournament
Toledo (5 votes)
Central Michigan (3 votes)
Western Michigan (3 votes)
Ball State (1 vote)

 

--MURedHawks.com--