Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Saint Louis Billikens Predicted to Repeat as #A10WSOC Champions

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - For the second straight season, the Saint Louis Billikens have been chosen as the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason women's soccer favorite in a vote conducted by the league’s 14 head coaches.

The Billikens, who also landed four players on the Preseason All-Conference team, earned 192 votes and thirteen first-place tallies to take the top spot in the rankings.

Last year's runner-up, VCU, finished second in the predicted order of finish with 176 points, followed by George Mason and Saint Joseph's, who tallied 163 and 161 votes, respectively, to round out the top four spots. George Mason alson earned a first-place vote.

SLU returns seven starters and 10 additional players from its 2018 squad that posted a school-record 18 victories (18-4-1), went 10-0-0 in A-10 regular-season play, captured the conference tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Championship. The Billikens are anchored by two-time A-10 Defensive Player of the Year and All-America second-team selection, Alli Klug, who was also named to the Hermann Mac Trophy Watch List for the second year in a row. Also returning to the lineup are 2018 All-Conference selections Courtney Reimer and Hannah Friedrich, along with Alyssa Seitzer, Emma Farley, Annabelle Copeland and Evie Lavelle who combined for 28 goals and 23 assists. Mary Niehaus, a first-team selection in 2016 and 2017, is back between the posts for Saint Louis after missing the 2018 season due to injury.

The Rams return eight starters to a squad that went 16-4 and dropped just one conference bout. A balanced attack headlined by Samantha Jerabek (11 goals, 7 assists), VCU returns nearly all of their offense including Susanna Friedrichs, Cici Fox, Emma Kershner and Idelys Vazquez who each tallied three goals last season. Alyssa Tallent (4 goals, 5 assists) returns to the pitch after missing a portion of last season. VCU has been to the last two Atlantic 10 Women's Soccer Championship finals. Tallent, Jerabek and Lana Golob earned preseason all-conference honors.

The Patriots will look to reigning Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year, Emma van der Vorst, who led the A-10 in goals (14) and points (32) in her freshman campaign. George Mason (14-6; 8-2 A-10) returns eight upperclassmen to the squad, including second-team All-Conference selection, Shannon Lee, and goalie Morgan Symmers, who posted a 12-4 record in the net.

The Hawks (14-5-2; 8-2 A-10) return all-conference selections in graduate-student Dakota Mills and junior Morgan Bower, who accounted for a combined 15 goals and three assists last season. Also back are midfielder Gabrielle Vagznozzi and Mackenzie Ehresman, who were named to the preseason all-conference team. The Hawks will need to replace a trio of key seniors in Hannah Racis, Paige Bergman and Grace Bendon.

The league’s head coaches also voted for an 12-member Preseason All-Conference Team.

The top eight teams will compete in the 2019 Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Championship. The opening rounds will be held on the campus of the higher seeds on Nov. 2 and 3. The top four teams will then advance to play at Saint Louis' Hermann Stadium in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 8. The championship final will be held on Sunday, Nov. 10 with the winner earning the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. All rounds of the championship will be streamed on ESPN+.


Preseason Poll - Total Points (First Place Votes)

1. Saint Louis - 192 (13)
2. VCU - 176
3. George Mason - 163 (1)
4. Saint Joseph's - 161
5. UMass - 135
6. Dayton - 116
7. Fordham - 104
8. La Salle - 98
9. George Washington - 97
10. Duquesne - 83
11. Richmond - 51
12. Davidson - 40
13. St. Bonaventure - 28
14. Rhode Island - 26


2019 Preseason All-Conference Team

Forwards:
Emma van der Vorst, George Mason
Dakota Mills, Saint Joseph’s
Hannah Friedrich, Saint Louis
Samantha Jerabek, VCU

Midfielders:
Jenny Hipp, UMass
Gabrielle Vagnozzi, Saint Joseph's
Courtney Reimer, Saint Louis 
Alyssa Tallent, VCU

Defenders:
Megan McCormick, GW
Mackenzie Ehresman, Saint Joseph’s
Alli Klug, Saint Louis

Goalkeeper:
Mary Niehaus, Saint Louis


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