The Missouri State women’s soccer has been selected to finish second this season according to the Missouri Valley Conference preseason coaches poll released Wednesday. The Bears received one first-place vote and was just four points shy of preseason pick Illinois State.
“The Valley is anything but predictable,” stated head coach Rob Brewer. “You have to look at Illinois State, picked at the top, and think they have to be the team to knock off. If we can stay healthy, we have a shot at the league, but all of the teams are getting better and that gives everyone a chance in this league.”
In addition, Grace Cross, Nia Williams and Kelsey Fouch were named to the preseason All-MVC team. Cross, a senior out of Lee’s Summit, Mo., was a first-team All-MVC selection in 2011. She will once again be called upon to provide leadership at a center back spot. Her versatility allows the Bears to move her to midfield when needed. Cross was also an NSCAA Scholar All-Central Region second team honoree and earned MVC Defensive Player of the Week accolades on Oct. 18, 2011.
Nia Williams, also a senior, was a second-team All-MVC pick in 2011. The Roeland Park, Kan. native has led the Bears in assists each of the last two seasons and sits fourth on the career list in assists entering this season. She was an Academic All-MVC first teamer and a CoSIDA Academic All-District VI second team honoree as well.
PHOTO GALLERY – Missouri State at SLU Billikens
Kelsey Fouch, a sophomore from St. Charles, Mo., made an immediate impact in her first campaign as a Bear. She earned All-MVC honorable mention and MVC All-Freshman team accolades. She tallied an assist in her first match as a Bear and added a game-winning assist against Oral Roberts (Sept. 11). Fouch was also named MVC Newcomer of the Week on Oct. 4, 2011.
The Bears finished second last season, going 4-1-1 in MVC play for a second-consecutive year. MSU finished 12-5-2 overall and reached the MVC Tournament finals for the second-straight season as well.
2012 MVC PRESEASON POLL
Rank – Team (1st-place votes) – Points
1. – Illinois State (5) – 47
2. – Missouri State (1) – 43
3. – Creighton – 32
4. – UNI (1) – 25
5. – Drake – 20
6. – Indiana State – 16
7. – Evansville – 14
MVC PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Kristin Cooley, Illinois State
Sam Copley, UNI
Grace Cross, Missouri State
Megan Fisher, Drake
Kelsey Fouch, Missouri State
Kalena Litch, Drake
Brittney Neumann, Creighton
Anna Stinson, Illinois State
Rachel Tejada, Illinois State
Stephanie Thompson, Evansville
Nia Williams, Missouri State
Missouri State kicks off the regular season on Friday (Aug. 17) at Plaster Field with a home match versus UALR at 7:00 p.m. MSU will also play North Texas on Sunday (Aug. 19) as part of the two-game home stand to begin the season. Kick off between the Bears and Mean Green is set for 1:00 p.m.