Big South: Campbell favored in preseason women’s soccer for first time
For the first time as a Big South member, Campbell’s women’s soccer team has been chosen first in the Big South Conference’s annual preseason poll, as voted by the league’s head women’s soccer coaches, the Big South announced. In addition, the coaches voted Winthrop forward Krystyna Freda the League’s preseason attacking player of the year and Radford defender Tyler Drake the preseason defensive player of the year.
Freda, a sophomore from Somerset, N.J., was tabbed the 2011 Big South Freshman of the Year after setting school-records with 16 goals, including seven game-winning scores which tied the Big South single-season record. She was named to the NSCAA All-Southeast Region third-team and earned national team of the week honors on Nov. 2. She finished 2011 ranked 22nd in the country and first in the Big South with 1.75 points per game and was No. 10 in the nation with 0.80 goals per game. A first-team all-Big South honoree last season, Freda notched five multi-goal games, two hat tricks and was named to the CS360 primetime performers honor roll on Oct. 14. She collected nine first-places and 19 points from the panel. High Point’s Kelli Joline (two top votes) and Ashley Clark (one first-place vote) of Campbell finished second in the voting with seven points each.
Drake, a junior from Palmyra, Va., was voted the 2011 Big South defensive player of the year and earned a slot on the NSCAA All-Southeast Region second team. A unanimous first-team all-Big South selection last season, Drake anchored a Highlander defense that tied a school record with 12 shutouts on the year. Radford also set the Big South standard as it became the first team in league history to open its Big South schedule with six-straight shutouts. She picked up five first-place votes to finish with 12 points, followed by Janay Whittaker of High Point, who notched four top nods and 11 points.
Campbell, which looks to win its first Big South championship since 1993, received four first-place votes and 132 out of a possible 144 points in the voting to finish ahead of defending champion Radford, which totaled six top votes and 130 points from the panel. The Fighting Camels, led by seventh-year head coach Todd Clark, finished the 2011 season as the runner-up in the Big South women’s soccer championship as a No. 3 seed. The Fighting Camels posted a 7-1-2 Big South record and a 15-5-2 overall mark during the 2011 campaign.
High Point came in at the No. 3 position with two top bids and 122 points. In fourth was Winthrop with 101 points, followed by new Big South member Longwood at No. 5 with 90 points.
“The No. 5 pick for us in the preseason poll is flattering, but what haven’t earned a thing yet, so our goal is to work as hard as we can and see where we are at the end of the regular season,” said 19th year head coach Todd Dyer. “If it’s anywhere in the top eight, we’ll be very excited about our first opportunity at post-season play in the conference tournament and we’ll do everything we can to make the most of it.”
Charleston Southern picked up 83 points to land at No. 6 and in seventh was Liberty with 76 points. Coastal Carolina‘s 65 points was good for the No. 8 slot and at No. 9 was UNC Asheville with 50 points. At No. 10 was Gardner-Webb with 46 points, followed by Presbyterian College with 23 points. VMI closed out the list with 18 points from the panel.
The 2012 Big South women’s soccer season begins Friday, Aug. 17, with 10 teams in action. The Big South women’s soccer championship will feature the top eight teams in the final standings and will begin Saturday, Oct. 27 with quarterfinal matches at campus sites. The semifinals and finals will be held at Winthrop University the weekend of Nov. 2-4.
2012 Big South Conference Preseason Women’s Soccer Poll
|Rank||Team (First Place Votes)||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||12||Total|
|3||High Point (2)||24||33||30||27||8||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||122|