NEWPORT NEWS, Va.— For the sixth consecutive year, the Dayton women’s soccer team has been chosen as the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason favorite in a vote conducted by the league’s 14 head coaches.
The Flyers, having made appearances in five of the last six A-10 Championship finales, including three titles, garnered eight first-place votes to claim the top spot in the preseason rankings. Two-time defending A-10 Champions, La Salle, came in second place with six first place nods, followed by VCU.
Dayton, which will vie for its fourth championship in the last six years, returns seven starters, including 2013 A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Ashley Campbell, who led the conference with 18 goals. The Flyers will also rely on first-team selection Nicole Waters, who finished the year atop the NCAA with 17 assists and All-Rookie goalkeeper, Elizabeth James. James posted 8 shutouts and 86 saves for a Dayton team that finished first in the A-10 with a record of 7-1-0 (14-5-2 overall), but ultimately fell to La Salle in penalty kicks in the 2013 A-10 Championship.
The Explorers will look to defend back-to-back titles in 2014 behind first-team selections Kelsey Haycook, Maryam Huseini and goalie Jessica Wiggins. Haycook will look to lead the offense for the Explorers, after finishing last season atop the conference standings in shots (89) and points (41), while Huseini, who broke La Salle’s all-time assists record, will control the midfield. Senior goalkeeper Jessica Wiggins posted nine shutouts in 15 contests, racking up an conference-best .859 save percentage, as the Explorers finished 5-2-1 in league play (15-5-3 overall).
The Rams finish third in preseason voting after finishing with an 8-8-3 record during their 2013 campaign in coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel’s first year. VCU returns six starters, including Maren Johansen, Sharon Wojcik, Casey Boyer, and goalkeeper, Emma Kruse, who will look to bring VCU back to a third straight A-10 tournament appearance.
The league’s head coaches also voted for a twelve-member Preseason All-Conference Team.
The top eight teams will compete in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Championship, which will be held Nov. 6-9 at Dayton’s Baujan Field in Dayton, Ohio.
|2013 Overall Record, A-10 Record||Total Points (1st Place Votes)|
|1. Dayton (14-5-2, 7-1-0)||189 (8)|
|2. La Salle (15-5-3, 5-2-1)||187 (6)|
|3. VCU (8-8-3, 3-3-2)||143|
|4. Saint Louis (6-10-3, 5-2-1)||138|
|5. Massachusetts (7-9-4, 3-3-2)||130|
|6. George Mason (7-11-1, 4-4-0)||128|
|7. George Washington (7-6-5, 3-3-2)||110|
|8. Richmond (6-9-3, 3-4-1)||87|
|9. Saint Joseph's (7-8-3, 3-4-1)||74|
|10. St. Bonaventure (8-10-1, 4-4-0)||71|
|11. Duquense (6-9-2, 2-5-1)||69|
|12. Davidson (6-11-4, 4-5-1 SoCon)||59|
|13. Rhode Island (6-12-0, 1-7-0)||43|
|14. Fordham (5-9-3, 3-4-1)||42|
Ashley Campbell, Dayton, Forward
Kristi Abbate, George Washington, Forward
Kelsey Haycook, La Salle, Forward
Maren Johansen, VCU, Forward
Nicole Waters, Dayton, Midfielder
Maryam Huseini, La Salle, Midfielder
Emily Gingrich, Saint Joseph’s, Midfielder
Alex Brothers, George Washington, Defender
Kerri Aiken, La Salle, Defender
Rebekka Sverrisdottir, Massachusetts, Defender
Mary Wright, Saint Louis, Defender
Jessica Wiggins, La Salle, Goalkeeper
*a tie in the voting resulted in a twelve-member team