Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The St. Scholastica Saints men's and women's soccer teams were both picked as preseason favorites in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC).
The men received five of a possible six first-place votes in the poll, finishing just ahead of Minnesota-Morris.
The Saints reached the program's first NCAA tournament last year, but also graduated the program's most successful senior class, including 71% of the team's goal scoring.
St. Scholastica does return senior goalkeeper Sam Reed, just three shutouts away from the program record, and senior forward Brandon Stemwedel, who led the UMAC with 10 assists in 2010.
2011 UMAC Men's Soccer Coaches Poll
1. St. Scholastica - 34 points (5)
2. Minnesota-Morris - 31 points (1)
3. Bethany Lutheran College - 25 points (1)
4. Northwestern College - 22 points
5. Crown College - 17 points
6. Martin Luther College - 10 points
7. Northland College - 8 points
WOMEN ALSO PICKED TO FINISH FIRST IN CONFERENCE PLAY
The St. Scholastica women's soccer team is looking to extend an 85-game regular season conference unbeaten streak heading into 2011, and they will again do so as overwhelming favorites.
The Saints earned all six possible first-place votes in the preseason poll, finishing ahead of Northwestern College.
St. Scholastica returns 2010 UMAC Defensive Player of the Year in senior Megan Flesvig, who anchored a defensive unit that allowed just three goals in regular season conference play a year ago.
Last season's UMAC Freshman of the Year Taylor Cunningham is also back for the Saints, a year after scoring seven goals and recording 16 points in his freshman year.
Top scorers Andrea Beatt (26 points) and Shannon Carlson (20 points) are also back, as is goalkeepr Bailey Mahlum.
2011 UMAC Women's Soccer Coaches Poll
1. St. Scholastica - 36 points (6)
2. Northwestern - 31 points (1)
3. Minnesota-Morris - 24 points
4. Bethany Lutheran College - 23 points
5. Martin Luther College - 14 points
6. Northland College - 13 points
7. Crown College - 6 points
Posted by Zach Schneider