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Juniata women's soccer places fourth in Landmark preseason poll

(Posted August 25, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The Juniata College women's soccer team made its first post-season appearance in program history in 2007, and the rest of the Landmark Conference believes the Eagles will be back in the tournament in 2008.

Juniata was picked to finish fourth in the league this season, according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches and sports information director released Monday.

The Eagles earned 37 points in the poll, trailing third-place University of Scranton by six points and just five points ahead of fifth-place Drew University.

Moravian College tops the poll with 60 points, followed by Catholic University with 49 points and Scranton with 43 points. Trailing Juniata are Drew (32 points), Susquehanna University (20 points) and Goucher College (11 points).

The Eagles return a pair of All-Landmark Conference performers in junior forward Sarah Ruggiero (Bangor, Pa./Bangor) and junior midfielder Laura Goodlander (Red Land, Pa./Red Land), who contributed eight and four goals respectively in 2007. Juniata retains the services of 11 of the 13 players who scored goals in 2007, including the top seven scorers led by sophomore Caitlin Bigelow (La Mesa, Calif./Academy of Our Lady of Peace). Bigelow tallied nine goals and seven assists for 25 points in her freshman campaign, good enough for third among Juniata's all-time single season points leaders.

Juniata finished the 2007 season with a 9-6-3 overall record, 2-2-2 in Landmark Conference play, and qualified for a conference tournament for the first time in program history. The Eagles dropped a narrow 3-2 loss at the University of Scranton in the Landmark tournament semifinals, but earned a berth in the ECAC Division III South Region Tournament. Juniata was paired off with tournament top seed Grove City College in the first round of the ECACs, where they again lost by a 3-2 score.

Juniata's 2008 campaign opens on Saturday, Aug. 30, when it faces Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y.

Complete preseason poll results are listed below:

LANDMARK CONFERENCE
2008 Preseason Women's Soccer Poll

1. Moravian College - 60 pts.
2. Catholic University - 49 pts.
3. University of Scranton - 43 pts.
4. Juniata College - 37 pts.
5. Drew University - 32 pts.
6. Susquehanna University - 20 pts.
7. Goucher College - 11 pts.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.