BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Western Washington University is ranked No.3 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Preseason NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll released Thursday.
The Vikings are coming off the best season in school history, posting a 20-2-1 record, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season and West Regional championships and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA II National Tournament, where they suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to West Florida.
Despite losing five starters from that squad to graduation, WWU still returns experienced players at nearly every position. A total of 13 letter winners return and 10 of them started at least two games last season.
Leading the returnees for coach Travis Connell (12th year, 141-61-20), the winningest coach in school history, is first-team Daktronics All-American and GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Brianna Jones, who led a defense that ranked ninth nationally in goals against average last fall at 0.43. Also back are junior forward Catherine Miles (Anacortes), who led the GNAC in goals (15) and total points (33), and senior midfielder Kim Cooper (Bellingham). Miles received Daktronics All-America honorable mention and Cooper was a second-team West Region all-star in 2013 after being a first-team pick the previous season.
WWU has posted a 39-6-1 record over the last two years. The Vikings have won 20 of 21 home games during that span including all 12 in 2013.
Grand Valley State, the defending national champion, is ranked No.1 nationally with West Florida No.2.
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