Rollins Narrowly Receives Preseason Nod to Win Women's Soccer Title
|Photo by Mike Carlson|
Rollins has been given the nod as the preseason favorite to win the 2012 Sunshine State Conference women’s soccer title.
If the preseason poll proves to be a true indicator of how the season will shape up, competition should be tight in the league this fall. The top four teams were separated by just 19 points, and each of those squads received first-place votes. The poll was conducted among the league’s head women’s soccer coaches and sports information directors.
Rollins led the poll with 166 points, while collecting three first-place votes. Very close behind was Saint Leo, which placed second with 163 points and nine first-place votes. Tampa took the third spot with 154 points and four first-place nods. Nipping on the Spartans’ heels was Florida Tech with 147 points and two first-place votes.
Lynn gathered 110 points to settle into the No. 5 slot in the poll. Nova Southeastern was sixth with 82 points.
Florida Southern (65), Barry (61), and Eckerd (24) rounded out the poll.
The Tars, who finished second in the 2011 SSC standings, return eight starters from the squad that tallied a 14-3-2 overall record and a 7-1 conference mark. They will, nevertheless, look to replace three graduated all-conference selections, including SSC Defensive Player of the Year Michelle Dillingham.
Offensively, senior forward Ali Schrader will lend experience. Schrader, an All-SSC first team selection, was the Tars’ leading scorer a year ago, ranking eighth in the SSC with 22 points on nine goals and four assists.
Senior Anita Cox, who garnered first-team all-conference honors last fall, will anchor a Rollins defensive unit that proved very stingy in 2011. The Tars notched 14 shutouts in their 19 matches and also lead the league with a 0.41 goals against average.
Saint Leo welcomes 13 returning players, including five starters, from the squad that won the program’s first outright SSC title in 2011. The Lions will, nevertheless, also look to fill the void left by five departed All-SSC players, including SSC Co-Player of the Year Cassie Barbaresi.
Leading the way for Saint Leo will be sophomore forward Ari Foreman. Foreman was named the SSC Freshman of the Year after posting four goals and three assists in her debut season.
In the preseason poll released earlier this month by the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA), Saint Leo was ranked No. 23, followed by Rollins at No. 24.
2012 SUNSHINE STATE CONFERENCE PRESEASON WOMEN’S SOCCER POLL
Rank – Team, Points (1st Place Votes)
1 – Rollins, 166 (3)
2 – Saint Leo, 163 (9)
3 – Tampa, 154 (4)
4 – Florida Tech, 147 (2)
5 – Lynn, 110
6 – Nova Southeastern, 82
7 – Florida Southern, 65
8 – Barry, 61
9 – Eckerd, 24