Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's soccer squad has been picked to finish third in the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Preseason Coaches Poll announced today.
The Bulldogs tallied 68 total points and a first-place vote in the voting process and placed third of 10 squads in the preseason rankings. Defending league champion Grand Valley State took first place with 81 points and nine first-place votes, followed by Ashland in second place with 70 points.
Behind the top three were Saginaw Valley State in fourth (54) followed by Davenport (42), Michigan Tech (38), Northern Michigan (34), Wisconsin-Parkside (34), Northwood (20) and Purdue Northwest (9) rounding out the poll.
A large bulk of the Ferris State University women's soccer roster will return for the 2018 campaign with the Bulldogs also welcoming a large addition of prep signees to help further bolster an ever-improving lineup.
The 2018 season will represent Ferris State's 20th season of intercollegiate competition.
Last fall, the Bulldogs compiled an 11-8 overall record under head coach Andy McCaslin while placing third in the GLIAC with a 6-3 league record.
Along with the third-place league finish, the Bulldogs also reached the GLIAC Tournament for the eighth consecutive year last season and earned the right to host a quarterfinal-round home contest. FSU narrowly missed receiving the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in 2017.
The Bulldogs' returnees this fall include all-region honorees in sophomore forward Bri Rogers along with junior goalkeeper Grace Kraft. Both garnered 2017 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II All-Midwest Region laurels with Rogers also tabbed to the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association All-Region Second Team.
As a freshman last year, Rogers earned All-GLIAC First Team honors for the Bulldogs. She started all 18 games for FSU and finished with five goals and four assists for 14 total points, which included making a pair of penalty kicks and notching two game-winning goals.
The GLIAC's Goalkeeper Of The Year, Kraft led the Bulldogs in net and earned first-team all-league accolades. Kraft picked up six victories during the regular-season and allowed only 14 goals in 1,084 minutes of action for an impressive 1.16 goals against average. She allowed a single goal or less in 10 of her 13 appearances while never giving up more than two goals in a contest a year ago.
Along with the two returning All-GLIAC First Team honorees, FSU also welcomes back a pair of All-GLIAC Second Team selections in senior forward Carley Dubbert and sophomore defender Maddie Dickens. Sophomore forward Mackenzie Dawes garnered All-GLIAC Honorable Mention recognition in 2017.
FSU is slated to open the regular-season at home on Aug. 31 against Missouri-St. Louis in regional action before hosting Bellarmine (Ky.) on Sept. 2. From there, the slate gets challenging as the Bulldogs will play their next seven contests on the road, including a league-opening road trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula Sept. 21-23.