COURTESY OF NMU
MARQUETTE, Mich. – The season after a title game appearance, the Northern Michigan University women’s soccer team is No. 3 in the 2021 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ (GLIAC) Poll, the league announced Thursday.
NMU earned the third slot in the GLIAC poll with 49 points. They were five points ahead of rival Michigan Tech who finished fourth with 44 points.
A total of 20 players return from last season’s roster including the reigning GLIAC Offensive Player of the Year and All-GLIAC First Team member Caroline Halonen.
Halonen returns for her senior campaign. Last year the midfielder lead the Wildcats in goals (11), total points (23), shots (62), shots on goal (25), and game-winning goals (3). Nationally she was ranked second in NCAA Division II in goals, fourth in total points, and seventh in goals per game.
Another All-GLIAC performer returns to the program in sophomore Brooke Pietila. Last season, the midfielder was named to the All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team after she contributed three assists, one game-winning goal, and 15 total shots to the NMU effort.
Keeper Shenae Kreps will be back in the net for the Wildcats. The senior recorded 27 saves, eight wins, and three shutouts. Despite only being with NMU for one season she moved into the top ten of the program’s record book in career wins (8), goals-against average (1.39), and career shutouts (3).
Grand Valley State University is slotted No. 1 in the preseason poll with 62 points and six first-place votes. Ferris State University placed second with 59 points and three first-place votes. Behind the Wildcats at No. 3 is Michigan Technological University with a 44 point showing for fourth place. Saginaw Valley State University was fifth with 31 points.
The final four spots in the poll went to Davenport University (sixth, 30 points), Northwood University (seventh, 25 points), University of Wisconsin-Parkside (eighth, 16 points), and Purdue University Northwest (ninth, eight points).
The Wildcats finished the 2020-21 spring season with an 8-3-1 overall record and a 6-2-1 GLIAC mark. NMU’s eight wins were the first for the Wildcats since 2011. For the first time in program history, the Wildcats advanced to the GLIAC Tournament Championship falling to Grand Valley State.
The 2021-22 season begins Thursday, September 2 at home against St. Cloud State. Kick-off is set for 3 p.m. at the NMU Soccer Field.