AUGUSTA, GA – The North Georgia women’s
soccer team has been picked to finish third in the Peach Belt
Conference preseason poll according to the league’s head
coaches released this afternoon from the league office.
For the fifth straight year, Columbus State has been selected as the Peach Belt Conference preseason favorite as the Cougars were unanimous favorites in the top spot, receiving all 10 first-place votes they were eligible for to finish ahead of second-place Armstrong Atlantic State.
Behind North Georgia was Lander in fourth and GCSU in fifth. Montevallo, UNC Pembroke, Flagler, Clayton State, USC Aiken and Georgia Southwestern rounded out the voting.
North Georgia earns their best preseason poll ranking ever after turning in their first 10-win season since joining the conference. The Lady Saints went 10-5-2 overall and 6-3-1 in conference play last year and return six former Peach Belt All-Conference players, two Southeast All-Region players, and one All-American.
The offense will be led by defending PBC Freshman of the Year Kelsey Martin who tallied nine goals and three assists for 21 points as true freshman last season. All-American Casey Smith leads the defense and is coming off six goals and nine assists last fall as the senior is just nine assists from tying the PBC’s all-time mark for assists in a career.
Chris Adams, the defending Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year, has tough road ahead for his Lady Saints, including non-conference games against Belmont Abbey, Florida Southern, Florida Tech, and Newberry College. One of the toughest schedules in the country awaits North Georgia in league play, as the Lady Saints will host defending PBC champion and preseason No. 12 Columbus State, while traveling to preseason 19th-ranked Armstrong Atlantic the third week of October.
Columbus State, won their fifth consecutive regular-season championship in 2009 and is 38-2-3 against league opponents in the regular season during that run. Head coach Jay Entlich will have to replace some scoring for 2010 with four of his top five scorers gone, but does return preseason All-Conference selection Stephanie Parrish who was second on the team with 10 goals last year.
Armstrong Atlantic State won their first-ever PBC Tournament championship in 2009 and are ranked #19 in the nation in the NSCAA preseason poll. Head coach Eric Faulconer welcomes back 19 players from last year’s team, but will be without four-time All-American and three-time PBC Player of the Year Kristin Burton.
The 2010 women’s soccer season begins on Sept. 2 with conference play kicking off Sept. 10. The season will conclude with the PBC Tournament Nov. 2, 5-7, in Evans, Ga., which is being played as part of the first-ever PBC Fall Festival which brings the men’s and women’s soccer championships and the men’s and women’s cross country championships to Blanchard Woods Park on the same weekend.
The 2010 coaches poll is below. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
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