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08.08.13 | W Soccer

Coaches Place Wildcats Third in Poll

Amber Pickering is one of 12 players returning from the 2012 season Amber Pickering is one of 12 players returning from the 2012 season

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – The Heart of America Athletic Conference women's soccer coaches have placed Baker University in the No. 3 spot in its 2013 HAAC Preseason Women's Soccer rankings.

Baker is behind No. 1 rated Graceland and No. 2 ranked Benedictine College. The Wildcats finished 2012 with a 13-7-1 overall record and 4-3 mark in the HAAC regular season.

The Wildcats went on to play in the 2012 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship Opening round at home for the second straight season against Bellevue University. The Wildcats defeated the Bruins, 2-1 to advance for the third straight season to the NAIA National Championship final site.

The 2012 final site was located in Gulf Shores, Ala., and the 'Cats took on a speedy Vanguard team that downed Baker, 5-1.

"Over the last three seasons we have had to replace All-Americans and great players who have played in the Final Four and final eight matches and it's about building new ones," said head women's soccer coach Nate Houser. "We look at last season and we look at how it ended. We had a few injuries, so we wanted to get a little deeper and a little more athletic and I think we did a pretty good job addressing that.

"Davy Phillips and Sara Matthews really hit the road seeking out our recruits over the last 12 months to get more athletic on the field and get to the place we want to be."

The Wildcats return 12 players from the 2012 squad including Shelby Schiraldi, a 2012 third-team NAIA All-American and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) third-team All-American.

Baker also returns all-HAAC second-team forward junior Alexa Fryer and two all-HAAC third-team selections, goalkeeper junior Rachel Theobald and junior defender Lesley Johnson.

The 2013 roster will consist of 25 players including one senior, nine juniors, two sophomores and 13 freshmen.

Baker will begin the season on the road at Ashford University on Saturday, Aug. 24 and then opens up the home portion of its schedule on Sunday, Aug. 25 at North Park in Baldwin City.

2013 HAAC Preseason Women's Soccer Rankings:
1. Graceland University
2. Benedictine College
3. Baker University
4. Missouri Valley College
5. Avila University
6. MidAmerica Nazarene University
7. Central Methodist University
8. Culver Stockton University

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