The Toledo women’s soccer team is the preseason favorite to capture the 2011 Mid-American Conference’s West Division and Tournament title, according to a coaches’ poll released by the league office Monday.
The Rockets received 65 points and seven first-place votes in the balloting to edge out two-time defending tournament champion Central Michigan (62 points) in the West Division. Following UT and CMU were Western Michigan (43 points), Eastern Michigan (41 points), Northern Illinois (21 points) and Ball State (20 points).
Miami is tabbed to repeat as East Division champs after garnering 68 total points and nine first-place votes. Behind the RedHawks in the East were Akron (56 points), Kent State (43), Ohio (40), Bowling Green (31) and Buffalo (14).
Toledo was the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament title with six votes. Central Michigan was the only other school to receive multiple votes in the tournament voting with two. Miami, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Ball State all received one.
“Even though it’s flattering to be recognized prior to the start of the season, we have a lot of work to do before the end of our season,” Toledo Head Coach Brad Evans said. “The conference season is a grind, and each school’s game-in and game-out performances will determine the actual MAC champion.”
UT returns eight of its top 10 scorers from last year’s squad that posted a 15-4-2 overall mark, including a league-record 10-1-0 Mid-American Conference record, en route to capturing a share of its second league regular-season crown in the last three seasons.
Toledo will kick off its 2011 women’s soccer campaign when it hosts Big Ten member Purdue Friday, Aug. 19, at Scott Park. The opening whistle is slated for 5:30 p.m with the match being tabbed as Youth Day. All UT soccer campers and youth teams will receive free admission and can get autographs from the Rockets following the match.