FAYETTE – The Northern Sun Conference Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Poll is out and the Peacocks have been picked to finish fourteenth in the conference this season.
The defending NSIC Tournament Champions of Minnesota State University, Mankato were picked to win the NSIC in the preseason coaches’ poll. This marks the eighth time since re-joining the NSIC in 2008 that the Mavericks have been picked to win the NSIC.
Minnesota State received 12 first place votes and tallied 222 points, ranking them ahead of Augustana (208), which received two first place votes. The defending NSIC Regular Season Champions of Bemidji State came in third with 199 points and the other two first place votes. Concordia-St. Paul was fourth with 172 points while St. Cloud State was fifth with 154 points.
The Peacocks, who went 3-13-2 overall and 2-11-2 in the NSIC in 2018, started their season with a big home win over Fort Hays State and later added victories over MSU Moorhead and Minnesota Duluth. The team suffered their fair share of heartbreakers, dropping six matches by a single goal including a 2-1 loss in overtime against No. 23 Truman State at home.
Head Coach James Price, who returns for his fourth season at Upper Iowa, brings back an experienced group that saw loads of time on the field last year led by lead-scorer and NSIC Player to Watch Katie Samuels. Samuels appeared in all 18 games, scored five times and placed 14 of 30 shot attempts on goal. Peacock goalkeeper Natalie Rudrud will also return to the pitch after starting her freshman campaign with NSIC Goalkeeper of the Week honors and compiling 129 saves in over 1600 minutes in goal throughout the season. Seniors Molly Doran and Jessica Kron along with sophomore Aimee Sies will return to anchor the Peacock backline, while the attacking front brings back experience from NSIC Player to Watch Emily Hooper, Facienne Graham, Haley Ramberg, and Maida Alijagic.
#4 Katie Samuels (D, 5’5, So., Blackburn, England / St. Bedes HS)
Scored five goals for a team-best 10 points
Led the team with 30 shots placing 14 on frame
Scored the game-winning goal against Minnesota Duluth on Oct. 14
#13 Emily Hooper (F, 5’6, So., Beverly Hills, Fla. / Crystal River HS)
Appeared in 16 games making two starts
Notched nine shots and four shots on goal
Played 432 minutes as a freshman
Upper Iowa will open 2019 with five straight home games including the season-opener against William Jewell University on Sept. 8.
The 2019 NSIC Soccer Regular Season Champion will be determined by a 15-game league schedule, with a win earning a team three points and a tie one point.
The NSIC Tournament is scheduled for November 13, 15, 17. The top four seeds shall host for the first round, followed by the semifinal and championship rounds at the campus of the highest remaining seed.