Marissa Mykines returns to the starting lineup as a senior in 2011 with 21 points in three seasons with the Illini.
Aug. 16, 2011
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference released its women’s soccer preseason poll and players to watch listing on Tuesday, with the University of Illinois program picked to finish fourth by the conference’s coaches. In the same release, seniors Julie Ewing and Marissa Mykines and sophomore Vanessa DiBernardo were named Illinois’ Big Ten Players To Watch for the upcoming season.
Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin were tabbed in the top three places in the preseason poll, while Michigan earned fifth behind the Illini and Michigan State placed sixth. Conference newcomer Nebraska was ranked seventh by the coaches while Minnesota placed eighth and Purdue followed in the No. 9 spot. Northwestern, Indiana and Iowa occupy the 10th-12th placements to round out polling.
DiBernardo led the conference in scoring in her first year of collegiate soccer in 2010 en route to one of the most decorated freshman seasons in conference history. DiBernardo, a midfielder, tallied 27 points on the season, including an Illinois record-breaking four goals against Purdue on Oct. 1. Mykines returns as a companion playmaker to DiBernardo in the middle of the pitch, one season removed from tying for the team lead in assists with six. Ewing will again provide a veteran presence at defense for Illinois, the Batavia, Ill., native’s third year as a starter on the Illini backline.
The Orange and Blue open their regular season slate with a home contest at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium against Gonzaga at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, Aug. 19, before hosting Toledo at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday, Aug. 21. Admission to all Illinois home soccer contests is free.
Big Ten Conference Preseason Poll
1: Penn State
2: Ohio State
6: Michigan State