SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With 78 total points and six first-place votes, Denver edged South Dakota State for the top spot in The Summit League women’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll released Tuesday by league officials. The Pioneers were just two points clear of the Jackrabbits (76 points), who received the remaining four first-place votes.

Head Coach Jeff Hooker, a four-time Summit League Women’s Soccer Coach of the Year honor, has an abundance of key players back for a title defense, including Defensive Player of the Year Devan McSwain, who is part of a key quartet of fifth-year seniors that also includes midfielder Sami Feller, forward Camryn MacMillan and goalkeeper Nerea Arrazola.

Senior forward Sydney Sharp, an All-Summit League First Team honoree, returns after pouring in a league-leading 16 goals a season ago. The Pioneers, who will be looking to make their sixth-straight title game appearance, recorded a 13-6-2 overall record and an 8-0-1 league mark en route to the 2021 regular season title.

The Jackrabbits secured the remaining first-place votes after finishing with an impressive 17-4-1 overall record, a 6-2-1 league mark and a 2021 tournament title. SDSU head coach Brock Thompson has led the Jackrabbits to a 38-4-6 mark in Summit League play through his first five seasons in Brookings. Thompson has one of the league’s top offensive returners in senior forward Maya Hansen, who was a 2021 All-Summit League First Team selection and led the team in scoring with 35 points. She scored the second-most goals in the league with 14 and added seven assists.

Omaha (63 points) was selected third after earning the No. 3 seed in the Summit League Championship for the second straight season a year ago. Omaha’s nine wins last season were the most in a single season in its Division I era. Six points behind Omaha was South Dakota (57 points), who made its third league postseason appearance, while Western Illinois, who finished fifth in the league standings after being slated to finish 10th in 2021, was picked to finish fifth this year with 45 points.

Tied for the sixth spot with 37 points were Kansas City and Oral Roberts, while St. Thomas tallied 26 points and was picked eighth. North Dakota State (17 points) was picked to finish ninth, while North Dakota rounded out the preseason poll with 14 points.

The #SummitWSOC Championship will expand to a six-team event and will take place over the course of two weekends. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place Oct. 28-30 and the championship match will take place Saturday, Nov. 5.  The locations will be based on seeding with the top two seeds hosting two games on the opening weekend and the highest-remaining seed hosting the title game.

RankSchoolPoints (1st)2021 Record (SL)
1.Denver78 (6)13-6-2 (8-0-1, 25 pts.)
2.South Dakota State76 (4)17-4-1 (6-2-1, 19 pts.)
3.Omaha639-8-2 (6-3, 18 pts.)
4.South Dakota5710-4-4 (5-3-1, 16 pts.)
5.Western Illinois4511-6-1 (5-4, 15 pts.)
T6.Kansas City376-13 (4-5, 12 pts.)
T6.
8.
9.
Oral Roberts
St. Thomas
North Dakota State
37
26
17
6-10-2 (3-5-1, 10 pts.)
4-12-1 (2-7, 6 pts.)
3-12-1 (3-6, 9 pts.)
10.North Dakota143-13-1 (1-8, 3 pts.)

#SummitWSOC Preseason Notes

  • Four of the Summit League’s five individual award honorees are back in 2022 with Denver boasting Defensive Player of the Year Devan McSwain and reigning Coach of the Year Jeff Hooker, who will look to win a league-record fourth straight regular season title. Additionally, South Dakota State brings back Goalkeeper of the Year Jocelyn Tanner and Newcomer of the Year Avery Murdzek.
  • SDSU will look to make its 10th consecutive Summit League Championship appearance after winning two of the past three tournament titles.
  • South Dakota will look for its third straight Summit League tournament appearance and are led by five fifth-year seniors in Jordan Centineo, Taylor Cotter, Teresa Fontenot, Tiannah Moore and Joana Zanin. Centineo led the Coyotes with seven goals and 16 points last season, while Taylor Ravelo returns after receiving All-Summit League second team honors.
  • Omaha’s nine wins last season were the most under head coach Tim Walters as well as the most by the Mavericks in a single season in its Division I era.
  • Six Summit League players are back in 2022 that earned United Soccer Coaches All-West Region honors a year ago. Denver’s Sami Feller earned second team honors, while Sydney Sharp and Kaitlyn Glover garnered third team accolades. South Dakota brings back second team honoree Taylor Ravelo, while South Dakota State’s Maya Hansen (second team) and Rachel Preston (third team) round out the honorees.
  • Hansen ranks third on the SDSU career charts points (69) and goals (28), while entering the season sixth in assists (13). Murdzek recorded a freshman program record seven assists, which was tied with Hansen for third most in the league.
  • McSwain, midfielder Sami Feller, forward Camryn MacMillan and goalkeeper Nerea Arrazola will all return for a fifth season this fall. That DU quartet has combined for 233 appearances, including 187 starts.
  • MacMillan is coming off an injury that forced her to miss all of 2021, while Feller leads the quartet with 77 appearances and 72 starts, posting 82 career points. McSwain has started 40 of the 41 games she played in during her last two years, while Arrazola enters this season with a 29-3 career record.
  • Western Illinois graduate Amy Andrews will play her final season with the Leathernecks after the 2021 All-Summit League second teamer became the program’s all-time leading goal scorer with 26. She registered a dozen of those last season, which ranked third in the league.
  • Kansas City’s Emma Wilson, an All-Summit League second team recipient, returns as one of the Roos’ most potent offensive players. The fifth-year senior finished with 31 shot attempts, second most on the team and started each of the 18 games she appeared in.

#SummitWSOC Schedule Notes

  • The 2022 season officially begins Aug. 18 and the league schedule is slated to start Sept. 23 with Oral Roberts visiting Western Illinois.
  • Preseason favorite Denver will open its season at home against San Diego on Aug. 18.
  • The Pioneers will wrap up their regular season with a two-game road trip at Oral Roberts (Oct. 21) and Kansas City (Oct. 23). Denver hasn not lost a regulation contest in six games against the Golden Eagles and are 3-0 all-time against the Roos.
  • South Dakota State will open league play with three straight homes contests beginning with in-state rival South Dakota on Sept. 24.
  • The 10 teams will play at least one league opponent each weekend until the conclusion of the season on Sunday, Oct. 23.
  • For the regular season, overtime has been eliminated, meaning if a game is tied after the regulation 90 minutes, it will end in a tie. In conference tournaments and NCAA postseason games, the sudden-victory component has been eliminated, and the teams will play two 10-minute overtime periods instead.

Players to Watch
Devan McSwain | Denver | Graduate | Defender
• 2021 Summit League Defensive Player of the Year and first team honoree
• Played in all 21 games last season, starting 20 of those games and totaled 1,808 minutes, which was the second-most on the team only behind goalkeeper Nerea Arrazola
• Totaled three goals on the season from the back line

Sami Feller | Denver | Graduate | Midfielder
• Four-time All-Summit League First Team honoree and 2021 All-West Region Second Team recipient
• Ranked 16th nationally in assists per game (0.58) and 19th nationally in assists (11) last season

Maya Hansen | South Dakota State | Senior | Forward
• 2021 All-Summit League First Team honoree, United Soccer Coaches’ All-West Region Second Team honoree after leading the team in scoring with 35 points (second in the league) behind 14 goals (second in the league) and seven assists (tied for 3rd in the league)
• Became the third Jackrabbit and first since 2001 to record at least 30 points in a season
• Set an SDSU record by scoring a goal in six consecutive games to open league play and ended the year with five game-winning goals, which was the 17th best mark in Division I

Cece Limongi | South Dakota State | Senior | Forward
• Played and started in all 22 games, scoring 20 points with eight goals and four assists last season
• Goal and point totals were second highest on the team, while her eight goals ranked fifth in the Summit League

Grace Ostergaard | Omaha | Junior | Midfielder
• 2021 Second Team All-Summit League honoree started all 19 games for the Mavericks, logging 1,579 minutes
• Finished with five points on one goal and three assists, totaling 20 shots with five on goal
• Netted a goal and assisted on the game winner in a 2-1 win at Western Illinois (Oct. 8)

Sophia Green | Omaha | Junior | Forward
• Finished with a team-high 13 points on six goals and one assist in 16 appearances last season
• Went on a four-game scoring streak from Oct. 22-Oct. 31
• Four of her six goals were of the game-winning variety

Taylor Ravelo | South Dakota | Junior | Defense
• 2021 Second Team All-Summit and United Soccer Coaches All-West Region third team after leading the Coyotes with 1,696 minutes of play
• Had 11 shots with five on goal and scored her lone goal of the year in a 4-1 win over Drake
• Has played in 35 career contests with 32 starts

Joana Zanin | South Dakota | Graduate | Forward
• Started all 18 games in 2021 and scored goals against Oral Roberts and South Dakota State
• Logged 1,424 minutes and took 23 shots with nine on goal

Amy Andrews | Western Illinois | Graduate | Forward
• Earned 2021 Second Team All-Summit League honors after finishing with a program record 26 points last season
• Recorded 12 goals to become the all-time leading goal-scorer in program history with 26
• Logged 1,167 minutes, scored two game-winners, notched three games with multiple goals including a four-goal performance against Illinois State

Angie Knies | Western Illinois | Junior | Defender/Midfielder
• Started all 18 games and was sixth on the team in minutes (1,520)
• Helped the Leatherneck defense record three shutouts and finished the year with nine shots, with five on goal along with one goal and assist

Emma Wilson | Kansas City | Graduate | Defender/Midfielder
• Earned 2021 Second Team All-Summit League honors after starting all 18 games she appeared in
• Played 90-plus minutes 10 times, had 31 shots with 13 on goal, including two game-winners

Anna Jennings | Kansas City | Junior | Midfielder
• One of five Roos to start all 19 games, playing 1,118 minutes with five contests of 65-plus minutes played
• Scored a goal and dished out an assist, taking 10 shots with four on goal

Elle Abbey | Oral Roberts | Senior | Defender/Forward
• Appeared in 11 games in 2021 with 10 starts
• Logged 979 minutes of play and played the full 90 minutes in eight of the nine league games she competed in

Sophie Nash | Oral Roberts | Sophomore | Midfielder
• Made 13 starts and saw the field in all 18 games, totaling 15 shots on goal as a freshman
• Scored a goal in her first two collegiate games and added a pair of assists throughout the season

Audrey Vidmar | St. Thomas | Junior | Defender
• Played and started in all 16 games, playing 1,285 minutes
• Contributed to five shutouts and recorded a season-high 101 minutes against North Dakota State (Oct. 31)

Abby Brantner | St. Thomas | Sophomore | Forward
• Named to the All-Newcomer Team after starting all 17 contests, tallying 1,280 minutes played
• Scored three goals, added two assists, recorded 65 shots with 31 of those on goal 
• Tallied game-winning goal against North Dakota (Oct. 29)

Olivia Lovick | North Dakota State | Junior | Forward
• Played in all 16 games with 14 starts in 2021, logging 1,162 minutes
• Recorded two goals, both against Oral Roberts (Oct. 1) in a 3-2 victory and assisted on one goal, setting up the game-winner in the final minutes of a 2-1 victory over North Dakota
• Has eight career goals and three assists in two seasons

Alicia Nead | North Dakota State | Junior | Midfielder
• Played in all 16 games with 11 starts, logging 835 minutes on the pitch
• Scored first career goal, a game-winner, in the final minute of a victory against UND and assisted on one goal in a 3-2 win against ORU

Madi Livingston | North Dakota | Senior | Goalkeeper
• Started and played in all 16 games in 2021, logging 1,382:50 minutes
• Recorded two shutouts and three wins, posting a 1.69 goals against average and 69 saves for a .726 save percentage

Hannah Olson | North Dakota | Redshirt Senior | Forward
• Appeared in 17 games with 12 starts, sitting seventh in the league in shots with a total of 35 for an average of 2.50 per game
• Second on the team in points with nine (4 goal, 1 assist), playing 1,078 minutes

Note: Players to Watch nominated by league’s head coaches