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INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was named the preseason favorite for the 2009 women's soccer season. The Panthers, who have won or shared nine consecutive regular season Horizon League titles, received seven first-place votes in a poll of the League's nine women's soccer coaches.

UWM (18-3-2 in 2008) returns nine players who started at least 10 matches last season, as well as 88.8 percent of the team's scoring from a season ago. Headlining the returnees are first team All-Horizon League selections Sarah Hagen, Kate Megna and Erin Kreuser. Hagen was also on the all-newcomer squad last season after leading the League with 24 goals. Other Panthers on the all-newcomer squad last season were Keara Thompson and Mary Wandolowski.

Loyola, the top seed in the 2008 Horizon League Women's Soccer Championship, was voted second and received two first place votes. Wright State, Butler and Detroit were voted third through fifth, respectively.

Valparaiso (sixth) and Green Bay (seventh) were next in the poll, followed by Cleveland State and Youngstown State, respectively.

Six members first-team All-Horizon League players return from last season, as well as nine who were voted second team all-league.

The 2009 Horizon League women's soccer season kicks off Friday, Aug. 21 with six teams in action. Butler, Valparaiso, Youngstown State, Milwaukee and Wright State open the season on the road while Loyola is at home on opening night.

2009 Women's Soccer Preseason Poll

Team (1st Place Votes) Total Points `08 Record

1. Milwaukee (7) 63 18-3-2 (7-1-0 HL)

2. Loyola (2) 53 14-9-0 (7-1-0 HL)

3. Wright State 50 10-9-1 (4-3-1 HL)

4. Butler 48 11-11-0 (4-4-0 HL)

5. Detroit 31 8-9-1 (4-4-0 HL)

6. Valparaiso 25 10-6-3 (2-5-1 HL)

7. Green Bay 24 5-7-4 (2-4-2 HL)

8. Cleveland State 22 8-10-1 (3-4-1 HL)

9. Youngstown State 8 4-14-2 (0-7-1 HL)

Tags: Milwaukee - Women's Soccer
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