By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

FLORENCE, Ky. – The University of Rio Grande is predicted as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s top team with the release of the 2015 Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll by the KIAC office on Friday.

The RedStorm earned seven of the nine first-place votes and totaled 63 points in the poll. The RedStorm are coming off a 2014 season with a 12-6 overall record and a perfect 6-0 mark in the KIAC.

Rio Grande also won the KIAC Tournament and advanced to the NAIA National Championship Opening Round for the first time in school history.

Head coach Callum Morris’s squad is bolstered this fall by the return of 2014 KIAC Player of the Year Kasey Crow.

Asbury (Ky.) University. which fell to Rio in last year’s KIAC tourney finals, is picked second in the preseason poll with 54 points. The Eagles were 11-8 overall and 4-2 in the KIAC last year.

Point Park (Pa.) University is right behind Asbury in the poll with 53 points. The Pioneers (10-9, 5-1 KIAC in 2014) received the other two first-place votes and are coming off a KIAC semifinals performance.

Carlow (9-6 in 2014) and KIAC newcomer West Virginia Tech (4-9-4) are tied for fourth in the preseason poll with 35 points each. After that is Cincinnati Christian (4-13-1) in sixth with 27 points followed by the other KIAC newcomer, Ohio Christian (12-9-1), in seventh with 25 points.

Midway (Ky.) (7-8) came in at eighth place with 19 points, and Brescia (1-15) was ninth with 13 points.

The 2015 KIAC women’s soccer season begins Aug. 21. Every KIAC team plays each other once during the regular season, and the top six teams in the standings qualify for the KIAC Tournament Nov. 7-14. The higher seed in each playoff matchup will serve as the host team for each game all the way through to the finals.

The KIAC Tournament champion will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship beginning Nov. 21 with the Opening Round and continuing with the final site Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at Orange Beach, Ala.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing