The WCHA women's coaches preseason poll was released on Tuesday, and Minnesota State was picked to finish seventh in the eight-team league. This will be the Mavericks' fourth season with coach Eric Means at the helm. He is 22-75-9 with the struggling program.
Minnesota was the overwhelming favorite to win the league, getting six first-place votes and 48 points. North Dakota and Wisconsin each received a first-place vote and finished second and third, respectively with 44 and 40 points. Minnesota Duluth (32) was fourth, followed by Ohio State (24), Bemidji State (19), Minnesota State (12) and St. Cloud State (9).
Wisconsin senior Brianna Decker was the pick for preseason player of the year, getting four votes. Minnesota's Amanda Kessel and North Dakota's Jocelyne Lamoureux each received two votes. The Gophers' Hannah Brandt was the unanimous pick for preseason rookie of the year.
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Meanwhile, the Mavericks will open the season Friday and Saturday with a two-game series against Wisconsin at All Seasons Arena in Mankato. Means will not be available for those games nor for the next two as he will be serving the rest of a five-game suspension for a post-game incident late last season in Duluth.