KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Raven Women's Soccer team and head coach Lincoln Roblee will open up the 2017 season at No. 4 as the team earned 414 points in the Preseason NAIA Top 25 Coaches' Poll on Tuesday.
Benedictine is coming off a 20-4-0 run in 2016 which saw the program earn its fourth straight Heart Championship and earn their third straight trip to the NAIA National Tournament which led to a final ranking of No. 6 in the Postseason Coaches' Poll.
The Ravens headline a list of three teams from the Heart to earn a preseason ranking. Baker University starts the year out at No. 6 while MNU will start the season out in a tie for No. 25. Missouri Valley College gives the Heart four teams on the NAIA radar as they were listed in the others receiving votes category with eight points.
With the release of the preseason poll, the Ravens 2017 campaign is just around the corner. This year's schedule includes nine home matches, the first of which falls on Aug. 21 as the Ravens will take on No. 11 Westmont (Calif.) College at the BC Soccer Complex at 7:30 p.m.
The Ravens return 10 of 11 starters from last season which includes two NAIA All-America selections in Rosie McShane and Olivia Meyers. They also return All-Heart selections Molly Schmidt, Emily Ambuul, Tori Sanders and Ellen Loughman.
McShane led the team in points with 35 (14 goals, seven assists), Meyers was second with 27 (8 goals, 11 assists), and Ambuul was third in points with 25 (11 goals, 3 assists). Schmidt and Tori Sanders will help anchor a defensive back line once again in front of Loughman who recorded 56 saves in just under 1,800 minutes in goal with a .810 goal against average.
In addition to the all-conference returners, the Ravens will lean on seniors Madison Sanders and Hailey McEntee and juniors Anna Romano and Abbie Hair for leadership as they go for their fifth straight Heart Championship and fourth straight trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
In total, the Ravens will take on five opponents this season who start out the season either ranked in the Top 25 or listed in the receiving votes category. They travel to (RV) Park University on Aug. 30 and to No. 17 Hastings College on Sept. 8. The first home match of the Heart schedule comes on Sept. 20 against Missouri Valley and then on Sept. 26 they host MNU. The Ravens start off October with a trip to Baldwin City to take on Baker on Oct. 6.
The program will host William Penn University as part of Family Weekend on Sept. 23, they will hold their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Match on Oct. 14 as they host Culver-Stockton College, they host Graceland University on Oct. 21 as part of Homecoming and they wrap up the season on Oct. 28 against Mount Mercy for Senior Night.
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