Big Sky coaches tabbed the Portland State women’s soccer team for third in the Big Sky this season, as the conference released its preseason coaches poll Thursday.
The Vikings finished third with 74 total points in the poll, placing them behind Northern Arizona and Montana, who tied with 93 total points. NAU claimed the title of preseason favorite with more first-place votes than Montana, as the Lumberjacks claimed five first-place votes to the Grizzlies’ four. Weber State claimed the other two first-place votes, as the Wildcats finished a close fourth behind the Vikings with 72 total points.
NAU and Montana represent the 2014 Big Sky tournament and regular-season champions, respectively, while Portland State and Weber State represent the Big Sky regular-season and tournament champions from two seasons ago in 2013.
Outside of the top four, Northern Colorado and Idaho State finished fifth and sixth in the poll with 60 and 57 points, respectively, giving them the final two spots in the theoretical Big Sky tournament field at the end of the season.
The top six teams in the conference will make the Big Sky tournament, which the Big Sky regular-season champion will host from Nov. 5-8. The tournament will follow last year’s format with the bottom four seeds facing each other in the quarterfinals on Nov. 5. The quarterfinal winners will then advance to face the top two seeds in the semifinals on Nov. 6, with the lowest remaining seed facing the top overall seed while the highest remaining seed faces the No. 2 seed. The two semifinal winners will then advance to the Big Sky Championship on Nov. 8.
Big Sky play opens on Friday, Sept. 25, with Portland State opening the conference schedule at home against Southern Utah at 1 p.m. All conference teams will play a full round-robin, 10-match conference schedule, with conference play concluding on Oct. 30.
|2015 Big Sky Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll|
|1. Northern Arizona||93 (5)|
|2. Montana||93 (4)|
|3. Portland State||74|
|4. Weber State||72 (2)|
|5. Northern Colorado||60|
|6. Idaho State||57|
|7. Eastern Washington||49|
|8. Sacramento State||35|
|10. Southern Utah||29|
|11. North Dakota||11|
First-place votes in parentheses