ROCK HILL, S.C. – The SAC women's soccer coaches have voted Wingate No. 1 in the league's 2012 preseason poll, while Anderson leads the preseason All-Conference Team, it was announced on Wednesday.
Wingate, which went 16-4 overall last season and won the 2011 Food Lion SAC Soccer Championship, received seven first-place votes in the preseason poll. The Bulldogs finished second in last year's SAC standings and later advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Soccer Championship Southeast Regional.
Five Wingate players were named to the preseason All-SAC Team, including four on the First Team. Among the Bulldogs' first-team selections were 2011 All-SAC First Team picks Jade Montgomery at forward and midfielder Kelly Moldenhauer.
Montgomery finished second in the SAC in goals and third in points and shots last season.
No. 2 in the preseason coaches' poll was defending SAC regular-season champion Lenoir-Rhyne, which received three first-place votes. The Bears went a perfect 9-0 in league play in 2011, were the runner-up at the SAC Championship, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
L-R placed three student-athletes on the preseason All-Conference Team, including first-team midfielders Carley Griffin and Hanna Kiebel. Griffin was a member of the 2011 All-SAC First Team as well after finishing sixth in the conference in goals.
Tusculum was voted third in the preseason poll and had three student-athletes named to the preseason All-SAC Team. TC forward Tramicka James and midfielder Monica Perez earned spots on the First Team.
James led the conference in points and goals in 2011.
The Pioneers were followed in the preseason poll by No. 4 Newberry and No. 5 Catawba. Both teams had one player selected to the preseason All-SAC Team, including Newberry first-team forward Cassie Smith, who had the second-highest assist total in the league last year.
Anderson and Lincoln Memorial tied for No. 6 in the preseason poll, and AU led the conference with six preseason All-SAC selections. Three of the Trojans' All-SAC picks – forward Jessica Kleinberg, defender Adrienne Lough and goalkeeper Kaitlyn Neipp – were named to the First Team.
Neipp's 0.98 goals against average in 2011 was the SAC's second-best.
LMU, meanwhile, placed two on the preseason All-SAC Second Team.
Mars Hill was picked No. 8 in the poll, followed by No. 9 Carson-Newman. MHC placed two players on the preseason All-SAC Team, while C-N placed one.
Brevard rounded out the preseason poll at No. 10, and had one All-SAC Second Team selection.
|Team||Points (1st-place votes)|
|1. Wingate||79 (7)|
|2. Lenoir-Rhyne||74 (3)|
|t6. Lincoln Memorial||42|
|8. Mars Hill||26|