PARK RIDGE, Ill. The Indiana womens soccer team was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big Ten Poll, announced the Big Ten Conference after a voting by the leagues head coaches.
In just the second year that a preseason poll has been conducted, every coach in the league ranked 10 teams, excluding their own program.
Indiana will boast a young line up in 2004, featuring just five-upperclassman and 19- underclassman. The Hoosiers do will welcome back senior Kim Grodek. The midfielder was a first-team All Big Ten selection a year ago, as well as a first team All-Regional and Soccer Buzz All-Region Team member.
The young team was perfect in the preseason, winning both of its exhibition matches. IU downed Kentucky 2-1 in the IPFW soccer showcase in Fort Wayne, before blanking Western Kentucky 2-0 at home.
Penn State was picked to finish first, gathering eight first place votes. The Nittany Lion advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, a year ago.
Illinois was the only other team to receive first place votes, earning the top spot on the three remaining ballots.
Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue were all selected ahead of IU, finishing in third, fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Michigan State and Wisconsin were slated for the seventh and eight spots, while Minnesota and Northwestern were tied for ninth.
Iowa rounds out the preseason poll.
Indiana will open its 2004 campaign on Friday, Aug. 27, as the Hoosiers compete in the Milwaukee Cup. The Cream and Crimson will face Marquette on Friday at 8:30 p.m., and then close out the tournament with a 2:30 p.m. start time on Sunday, Aug. 29, against the host Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.
BIG TEN PRESEASON POLL 1. Penn State (8)
2. Illinois (3)
3. Ohio State
5. Purdue 6. Indiana 7. Michigan State