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Aug. 18, 2004

Columbus, Ohio – Three major soccer publications released their respective preseason polls in the last week, beginning with SoccerBuzz.com, which placed the Ohio State women’s team at the No. 10 position in its national rankings Aug. 18. Soccer America followed Aug. 20 and posted the Buckeyes at No. 18. On Aug. 24, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) went public with its preseason rankings and rated the Buckeyes 25th.

“It is a reward to be ranked as high as we are right now,” Jon Lipsitz, Ohio State assistant coach, said. “Being a Top-10 team speaks highly of where our program is and it shows our hard work has really paid off. We can use this ranking as motivation throughout the year. However, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. There are plenty of good teams we have to play. We have to go out and prove every week why we are ranked in the Top 10.”

Regionally, the Buckeyes sit at No. 2 in the Great Lakes region in SoccerBuzz.

The 2004 version of the Buckeyes features 11 returning starters and nine seniors from a team that recorded Ohio State’s best season in its 10 years as a Division I program. In 2003, the Buckeyes posted a 13-5-3 overall record and notched the program’s first win in NCAA tournament competition. Ohio State’s 2004 recruiting class was ranked in the Top 10 by both SoccerBuzz.com and Soccer America.

Ohio State is the highest-ranked Big Ten team in SoccerBuzz, edging 2003 conference champion Penn State, which sits at 12th. Michigan (15th) and Illinois (19th) round out the Big Ten representatives in the national publication solely devoted to women’s soccer. Reigning NCAA champion North Carolina is ranked No. 1 heading into the season in front of No. 2 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish finished 20-3-1 last season and are predicted to be the No. 1 team in the Great Lakes region by the publication.

The NSCAA and Soccer America also have the Tarheels in the top spot, followed by Santa Clara and Notre Dame. Penn State joins Ohio State as the only Big Ten squads ranked by the publication. The Nittany Lions are ninth, ahead of the 18th-ranked Buckeyes. The NSCAA has four Big Ten squads in its Top 25, with Penn State at No. 4, Illinois at No. 14 and Michigan at 20th.

Along with Illinois, Michigan and Penn State, Ohio State’s opponent in the season opener Portland is ranked No. 7 by SoccerBuzz and No. 6 by Soccer America. The Pilots, which won the 2002 NCAA Championship, also hold the sixth spot in the NSCAA. Ohio State and Portland face off in a neutral setting at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 27 in Seattle, Wash.

Ohio State has started preseason training camp and will play an exhibition match Aug. 24 vs. Oregon at the Nike Training Center in Portland.

2004 SoccerBuzz.com Preseason Poll
1. North Carolina
2. Notre Dame
3. Santa Clara
4. Texas A&M
5. Florida State
6. Florida
7. Portland
8. Texas
9. Connecticut
10. OHIO STATE
12. Penn State
15. Michigan
19. Illinois

2004 Soccer America Preseason Poll
1. North Carolina
2. Santa Clara
3. Notre Dame
4. Texas
5. Florida State
6. Portland
7. Virginia
8. Tennessee
9. Penn State
10. UCLA
18. OHIO STATE

2004 NSCAA Preseason Rankings
1 North Carolina
2 Santa Clara
3 Notre Dame
4 Penn State
5 Texas A&M
6 Portland
7 Florida State
8 Connecticut
9 UCLA
10 Virginia
25 OHIO STATE

SoccerBuzz Great Lakes Poll
1. Notre Dame
2. OHIO STATE
3. Michigan
4. Illinois
5. DePaul