The Thunder received votes totaling 16 points in the poll. The poll is voted on by the conference coaches, who cannot vote for their own team. Calvin College was picked to repeat as conference champion with 63 points and seven first-place votes. Albion College and Hope College are tied for second with 51 points apiece. Albion comes away with the other two first-place votes.
For Trine, this will be the second year under new head coach Madeline Dugan. Last season, the Thunder finished 3-12 overall and 1-7 in conference play, which put them in the eighth spot in the standings.
Trine graduated their top four goal scorers from a year ago, but return the rest of their lineup while adding freshman to the mix.
One key returner is senior Rebecca Plantz (DeWitt, Mich. / DeWitt) who last year was the on pace to be the team's leading goal scorer before she was sidelined by injury during the team's fourth game of the season. In her career at Trine, she has amassed 47 goals.
Another crucial returner is goalie Audrey Poteet (Indianapolis, Ind. / Ben Davis), who started all of the team's games last season. She finished the season leading the MIAA in total saves with 206 and came in second with a 49 save percentage.
The Thunder begin their season by traveling to Ohio Northern University on Saturday, Feb. 24 for a 5 p.m. contest. Their first home game is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m.