Dixie State was voted to finish fifth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference women’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll released on Wednesday. The Trailblazers, who will make their RMAC debut this season, return five starters and 11 letterwinners from last season’s 12-6-0 team.
Colorado-Colorado Springs collected 11 of a possible 14 first-place votes to claim the top spot in the poll with 163 points, while 2017 league runner-up Colorado School of Mines tallied two first-place nods and 153 points to squeak past defending champion Regis, which secured one first-place vote and 152 points. MSU-Denver claimed the fourth spot with 118 points, followed closely by DSU (117 pts) in fifth, Colorado State-Pueblo (115) in sixth and Colorado Mesa (91 pts) claimed the seventh spot to round out the top half of the 14-team poll.
Dixie State, which opened its fall training camp Monday, will travel to Henderson for a Saturday exhibition match at College of Southern Nevada at 7 p.m. PT, before hosting Western Wyoming CC in an exhibition friendly at Trailblazer Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m.
DSU officially kicks off its 2018 season with six-straight regular season road games, beginning with a three-game Southern California trip, which starts at Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday, Aug. 30. The Trailblazers will return home following that trip to play Snow College in an exhibition match on Sept. 8, which will be followed by three more road contests, including their first RMAC match at in-state rival Westminster College on Sept. 16.
After the two long road swings, Dixie State will play six of its final 10 matches at home, starting with its home RMAC debut vs. MSU-Denver at Trailblazer Stadium on Sept. 28. The 2018 RMAC Women’s Soccer Tournament will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 4, with the winner of the tournament earning the conference’s automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA South Central Regionals.
Gerry Lucey (Colorado State-Pueblo, 0-0-0 at Dixie State, 153-50-20 overall record) begins his first season as the Dixie State head coach. Prior to his arrival at DSU, Lucey collected 153 victories during 10 seasons as a head coach at three NCAA Division II women’s soccer programs, which included eight NCAA tournament appearances, three NCAA regional championships and one NCAA Division II national championship won during his tenure at the University of Tampa in 2007.
Lucey is joined on the Trailblazer sideline by first-year assistant coaches Freddie Delgado (Regis, 1997), as well as former Dixie State soccer standouts Laura Evans (Dixie State, 2007) and Juli Nield (Dixie State, 2006).
2018 Dixie State season outlook
Dixie State returns five starters and 11 letterwinners from last season’s 12-6-0 squad, which finished tied for sixth in its final season of PacWest play. Sophomore forward Tori Page is the Trailblazers’ top-returning goal scorer as she tallied eight goals and two assists as a true freshman last season en route to third-team all-PacWest honors.
On the defensive side, senior Nichole Mertz and junior Kilee Lamb-Allsop return to anchor a stout Trailblazer defense that posted seven shutout wins, surrendered just 19 goals in 18 matches (1.04 GAA) and limited opponents to 5.1 shots on goal per game.
Dixie State also returns junior goalkeeper Felicity Tarr, who started in all 18 matches and played in 1,509 of a possible 1,644 minutes in goal last season. Tarr finished the year with an 11-6-0 overall record (8-5-0 in PacWest play) with six shutout victories, while her 11 victories were the second-most in a season in program history. In addition, the junior posted the third-lowest single season GAA in program history (0.95) and stopped 69 shots, which is the second-highest single season saves total in DSU history.