Trojan women's soccer ranked 5th in preseason league poll
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 28, 2013 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Don't be surprised if the 2013 Conference Carolinas women's soccer preseason coaches' poll becomes locker room fodder for Mount Olive College.
A fifth-place selection might not sit too well with the Trojans. After all, three of their top goal scorers are back, including Ellie Barnes, who garnered all-conference accolades as a freshman.
"I think it is good motivation for the team," said seventh-year MOC head women's soccer coach Matt Hisler. "We have higher expectations for our season. We will look forward to surprising people."
Coaches predict Belmont Abbey will emerge as the league champion in early November and make its second straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional. The Crusaders, led by 2012 Conference Carolinas tournament MVP Silvia Vazquez, received five first-place votes.
Two-time defending regular-season champion Lees-McRae collected two first-place votes and is picked second in the preseason. The Bobcats return 14 letter-winners off last year's team which finished a league-best 12-5-2 overall.
Limestone, chosen third, returns eight players who started in at least 10 games a year ago. The Saints were the regular-season runners-up to LMC and brings back the league's reigning player-of-the-year -- Gabriella Reid.
Selected fourth, Pfeiffer University grabbed two first-place votes and finished two points behind the Saints. Third-year member King (Tenn.) was picked sixth behind MOC. Converse, Erskine, Barton and North Greenville rounded out the 10-team field.
"The conference as a whole has really grown in strength the last few seasons," Hisler said. "The whipping posts are no longer there. I expect every game to be difficult and hard fought."
MOC posted a five-match win streak late in the season which ended with an overtime loss at LMC. However, Hisler watched four starting defenders -- including four-time all-conference pick Patrice Clarke -- graduate.
Senior Carlee Bock is the lone returning midfielder. She'll work the ball upfield toward Barnes, Jaclyn Thomas and Maddy Robak, who combined for 14 of the Trojans 19 total goals last season.
But the firepower returns. Barnes, Jaclyn Thomas and Maddy Robak combined for 14 Mount Olive's 19 total goals last season.
Goalie Carolin Edenhofer logged a 1.63 goals-against-average between the pipes last season as a freshman.
Mount Olive opens its 2013 campaign Sept. 5 at in-state foe Campbell University. Two days later, the Trojans launch the home portion of their schedule against region foe Mars Hill.
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