PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 13, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s soccer team was selected to finish tied for eighth with Iowa in the 2014 Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll, the league announced Wednesday. The Scarlet Knights enter their first season in the Big Ten Conference having played just one game against a league opponent since 2010.
“The Big Ten is one of the top women’s soccer conferences in the country,” said head coach Mike O’Neill. “To start off being ranked eighth in the preseason coaches’ poll is a good starting point, but what we do from here is up to us.”
Penn State was selected to win the conference, while Wisconsin and fellow newcomer, Maryland, were picked to finish second and third, respectively. The full breakdown is below, including the Big Ten Women’s Soccer Preseason Players to Watch list. RU’s three players on the list are senior forward Stef Scholz (South Hackensack, N.J.), junior back Erica Skroski (Galloway, N.J.) and freshman midfielder Madison Tiernan (Voorhees, N.J.).
Scholz and Tiernan enjoyed breakout seasons offensively in 2013, with Scholz leading RU with 10 goals and Tiernan finishing third in points (17) with six goals and five assists. Both earned second team All-American Athletic Conference honors.
Skroski was a key member of a Rutgers backline that forced 11 shutouts and allowed just one goal over the final five contests of the season. She started in all 22 games as a sophomore and averaged 92.2 minutes per match to lead the team.
The Scarlet Knights kick off their inaugural Big Ten Conference campaign on Friday, Aug. 22 at Yurcak Field against Stony Brook. RU opens its conference slate at Maryland on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
Rutgers has won its last three games against Big Ten competition. The Scarlet Knights beat Ohio State by a 1-0 margin on Aug. 29, 2012, topped No. 13 Penn State, 1-0, on the road on Sept. 6, 2009 and bested the No. 20 Nittany Lions, 2-1, on Nov. 14, 2008, in double overtime in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
1. Penn State
6. Ohio State
12. Michigan State
BIG TEN WOMEN’S SOCCER PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jannelle Flaws, Sr., Forward
Taylore Peterson, Jr., Midfield
Aliina Weykamp, Jr., Defense/Midfield
Tori Keller, Sr., Midfield
Abby Smith, Sr., Midfield
Veronica Ellis, So., Midfield
Melanie Pickert, Sr., Defense
Cloe Lacasse, Sr., Forward
Caitlin Brown, Sr., Defense
Aubrey Baker, Jr., Midfield
Rachelle Beanlands, Jr., Goalkeeper
Cory Ryan, Sr., Midfield
Madisson Lewis, So., Midfield/Forward
Nicky Waldeck, So., Forward
Ani Sarkisian, Fr., Midfield/Forward
Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz, Jr., Defense
Paige Wester, Sr., Forward
Megan Marsack, Sr., Midfield
Katie Thyken, Sr., Midfield
Tarah Hobbs, So., Goalkeeper
Josee Stiever, So., Midfield
Jaycie Johnson, So., Forward
Mayme Conroy, Sr., Forward
Caroline Gray, Sr., Midfield
Niki Sebo, Jr., Midfield
Margo McGinty, Jr., Defense/Midfield
Jackie Alyinovich, Sr., Defense
Nichelle Prince, So., Forward
Kayla Varner, Sr., Forward
Nikki Walts, Fr., Midfield
Emily Hurd, Sr., Midfield
Mallory Weber, Jr., Forward
Raquel Rodriguez, Jr., Forward/Midfield
Mollie Kuramoto, Sr., Midfield
Taylor Niewoit, Sr., Midfield
Alex Hairston, Sr., Forward
Madison Tiernan, So., Midfield
Erica Skroski, Jr., Defense
Stef Scholz, Sr., Forward
Rose Lavelle, So., Midfield/Forward
Cara Walls, Sr., Forward
Genevieve Richard, Sr., Goalkeeper
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (Rutgers Athletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers women’s soccer, follow the program on Facebook (Rutgers Women’s Soccer), Twitter (@RUWSoccer) and Instagram (@RUWSoccer). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.