BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – The CSU Bakersfield women’s soccer team was traveling to Moraga, Calif. for its exhibition match on Wednesday against Saint Mary’s when the Western Athletic Conference’s Preseason Coaches’ Poll was announced. The Roadrunners were slated to finish fourth in the conference, just one point back of third place, while two ‘Runners were named to the Preseason All-WAC Team.

Fresh off of one of the most successful seasons in CSUB Division I history, the ‘Runners jumped up a spot from the 2015 Preseason Coaches’ Poll. CSUB also narrowed the gap between itself and the top teams in the conference as third-place UMKC sits just one point ahead of Bakersfield.

After earning WAC Freshman of the Year in 2015, Aminah Settles returns as CSUB’s top goal scorer. Settled tied the school’s Division I record for goals in a season with 11 last year and was named to the Preseason All-WAC Team on Wednesday. Joining Settles on the Team was junior Maja Green, who anchored the ‘Runner defense that allowed the fewest goals per game since the 2012 season. The complete rankings and Preseason All-WAC Team are listed below.

Heading into the 2016 season, Gary Curneen, Head Coach of the 'Runners, believes that his newest crop of incoming student-athletes brings added depth to a much improved squad: “This is our second recruiting class, so, we are excited about getting another layer on top of what we have already brought in. Last year’s group had a big impact and we expect this year’s group to have a big impact as well. As players, we feel they suit to our system and they can handle the demands.”

Curneen emphasized that his young squad, which features 25 underclassmen, must learn to take responsibility of the team: “We are growing a culture, not just about soccer players, but we are building a sense of identity as a team. We don’t want it to be a ‘just do what coach says’ kind of environment. We want the players to take co-ownership of the team.”

With the newest batch of ‘Runners set to see their first collegiate action in Wednesday’s exhibition at Saint Mary’s, CSUB is prepared to get a busy 2016 season underway. The ‘Runners will play a tough lineup before WAC play, according to Curneen: “Our non-conference schedule is designed to push us. We want the team to tackle challenges and face adversity. We believe we are building a foundation of resilience to be more mentally prepared. When we get to conference season, we will be prepared for everyone else to be better as well. The WAC is moving in the right direction.”

CSU Bakersfield will have its official season-opening match Friday, Aug. 19, when the ‘Runners take on Sacramento State on the road. The home opener will be a battle for the Valley as Fresno State is set to visit Bakersfield on Sunday, Aug. 21, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at the Main Soccer Field.

After their demanding non-conference slate, the ‘Runners will begin WAC play Oct. 7 on the road at Utah Valley. The regular season wraps up with three straight home matches including the final match against Grand Canyon Oct. 29. CSUB will then head to Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 3-6, for the WAC Tournament with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

Check back here at GoRunners.com tonight for a recap of the Roadrunners’ exhibition match. For information on season tickets, group tickets, and single-game tickets, visit GoRunners.com/tix.

 

Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Place     Team (first place votes)                  Pts.

1t.           Seattle U (4)                                   46

1t.           Utah Valley (4)                                46

3.            UMKC                                            32

4.            CSU Bakersfield                             31

5.            Grand Canyon                                27

6.            NM State                                       19

7.            UT Rio Grande Valley                     16

8.            Chicago State                                 7             

 

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

Lexie Howard, So., F, UMKC

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Kalli Suesue, Sr., D, Utah Valley

 

Preseason All-WAC Team

Milla Benedetti, Jr., F, Grand Canyon

Lexie Howard, So., F, UMKC

Aminah Settles, So., F, CSU Bakersfield

Karli White, So., F, Seattle U

Reighan Childers, So., MF, UMKC

Taylor Kirk, Sr., MF, Utah Valley

Isabelle Butterfield, So., MF, Seattle U

Kalli Suesue, Sr., D, Utah Valley

Stephanie Spiekerman, Jr., D, Seattle U

Maja Green, Jr., D, CSU Bakersfield

Blakely Fraasch, Jr., GK, Grand Canyon

~GoRunners.com~