Women's Soccer Picked to Finish Fifth in Conference USA Preseason Poll
Aug. 15, 2005
Memphis, Tenn. - The Memphis women's soccer team has been picked to finish in fifth place in the Conference USA coaches' preseason poll released Monday by the conference office. The Lady Tigers came in behind 2004 NCAA Tournament participants SMU, UCF, defending C-USA champion UAB, and Rice.
The Tigers, which finished 11-8-0 last year, tying a school record for victories and setting a school record for winning percentage, return 10 players from last year and also return midfielder and 2003 All-C-USA first team pick Nicky McLeod, who redshirted last year. All-Conference pick Melissa Savage also returns to the midfield as well as a healthy forward in Shoko Mikami, who led the nation in scoring two years ago playing for Division II Christian Brothers but missed part of last year due to injury after transferring to Memphis. Both McLeod and Savage were also part of the C-USA Preseason Players to Watch List.
The Tigers also add 15 newcomers to the team, including 14 freshmen. The incoming class was ranked the 27th best in the country out of over 300 teams in the country by Soccer Buzz, an online publication devoted to women's soccer. Highlighting the newcomers are forward Asuka Kubota, who was an NAIA All-American last year while playing at Martin Methodist College, defender Chloe James, who was a high school All-American last year, goalkeeper Caroline Allen, the Gatorade State Player of the Year in Arkansas last year, and midfielder Aika Young, who is a member of the Guam National Team.
UTEP, East Carolina, Tulsa, Tulane, Houston, Marshall, and Southern Miss rounded out the poll. Olivia O'Rear of SMU was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while UAB's Pam Cooney was the league's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The top eight finishers in the league earn a spot in the conference tournament, which will be held November 2-6 at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The Tigers will play a pair of exhibition games this Friday and Saturday at Indiana and Indiana State, respectively. The regular season opens for the Tigers in less than two weeks with a home game against Tennessee Tech on Sunday, August 28 at 1:00 p.m.