Mavericks picked third in Summit League Preseason Poll


Jordan McAlpine

Margaret LaVigne was named one of Omaha’s two players to watch this season. The Mavericks were picked No. 3 in the Summit League’s preseason poll. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics

After finishing last season No. 3 in the Summit League standings, the Omaha women’s soccer program heads into this fall trying to build off their momentum and prove they belong in the conference’s top four. It’s early, but as of now, many believe they belong as the Mavericks were ranked No. 3 in the league’s preseason poll last week.

Omaha was tabbed No. 8 heading into last spring, but over the course of the 16-game regular season, that rating proved to be meaningless. The Mavericks finished the regular season 8-4-4 and were 8-5-5 overall and recorded their first winning season since 2010. They also reached their second championship match in the last three years.

Although expectations outside of the program might be a little higher heading into this season, not much has changed for those inside of it.

“We’re excited, but we know what’s ahead in the Summit League,” head coach Tim Walters said of the upcoming season. “Our focus is still the same and not much has changed for us. We know we can’t take any night off and it’s (playing in the conference) going to be a challenge, but our group is ready for that.”

As Walters said earlier this month, the expectation this season is the same as any other year—make the conference tournament and anything can happen. The top four teams will qualify.

In addition to the preseason poll, two Mavericks also found themselves on the league’s players to watch list—sophomore forward Sophia Green and senior defender Margaret LaVigne.

Green led the Mavericks in scoring with six goals and two assists and was the recipient of the Summit League Newcomer of the Year award. She was also named All-Summit Second Team. She started 17 of Omaha’s 18 games and logged 1,203 minutes.

As for Lavigne, she started all 18 matches and logged over 1,700 minutes. The senior was an integral part of the Mavericks’ backfield and team defense as they recorded 10 shutouts, the most in a single Division I season by any Omaha team. Green and Lavigne are just two pieces of an entire starting lineup that will return this fall.

The Mavericks finished in third place with 62 points in the poll, which puts them behind top-ranked Denver and No. 2 South Dakota State. Their first Summit League test will come against No. 1 Denver on Oct. 1 at Caniglia Field.