Somis Sports has released a listing of the 25 most improved 2009 Division I women's soccer teams. Idaho State was ranked 18th in the most improved list as the Bengals turned around a 3-12-4 record in 2008 to a 10-8-0 record in 2009. Somis Sports calculated a team's improvement by comparing its final 2009 rating to an adjusted 2008 rating. Based on the calculation, 25 teams showed the most improvement in 2009 vs. 2008. A team's rating roughly equated to net goals (goals scored minus goals against). Based on the calculation, 25 teams improved by at least 1.06 net goals per game.
ISU’s 2008 season, was the Bengals’ fewest victories since its inaugural season in 1998 when ISU went 2-14-1. In 2009, the Bengals improved to a 10-8-0 record, ISU’s first ten-win season since head coach Allison Gibson’s first season with Idaho State in 2006 where she led ISU to its fourth Big Sky Conference Tournament Championship.
The Bengals did not have an easy season in front on them. ISU welcomed ten freshmen who were led by only three seniors, including Annamarie Hofstetter who became the Big Sky Conference all-time career assists leader with 25 from 2006-09. Even with a young squad the Bengals posted a winning 6-5 non-conference record that included a 2-1 win over Wyoming and a 1-0 victory over Utah State on the road.
Idaho State posted a 4-3 Big Sky record with a perfect 4-0 stance at home where the Bengals allowed just eight shots on goal by their opponents. ISU finished the regular season with a 4-0 victory over Weber State at Davis Field for ISU to tie for third in the conference rankings securing their post season berth. The Bengals advanced to tournament championship with a 2-1 win over Eastern Washington before falling to Northern Arizona in the finals.
However, Idaho State’s achievements did not end there as head coach Gibson earned her second Coach of the Year Award when she shared the honor with Andre Luciano of NAU who capture the tournament title and Portland State’s Laura Schott who led the Vikings to the regular season title. Gibson took the honor as recognition for the team’s achievements on the field. ISU’s acknowledgement of its achievement from 2008 to 2009 stretched beyond the Big Sky with Somis Sports’ acknowledgement.
--Katie Zigars, Assistant SID