NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – For the fifth straight year, the Dayton Flyers women’s soccer team has been chosen as the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason favorite in a vote conducted by the league’s 13 head coaches, the league announced Wednesday.
Dayton and La Salle each received 160 points in the voting, forcing a tiebreaker scenario in which Dayton earned the most first-place nods (7). The VCU Rams, coming off their first Atlantic 10 Championship appearance, are predicted to finish third.
The Flyers, who seek a record ninth A-10 Championship title, return eight starters and will rely offensively on 2012 All-Conference selections Juliana Libertin and Ashley Campbell, who combined for a total of 24 goals last season, to fill the void of A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, Colleen Williams. Dayton will be trying for its fourth championship in five years.
The defending A-10 champion La Salle Explorers come into the 2013 campaign having not lost a regular season conference match in two seasons under two-time A-10 Coach of the Year (2011, 2012), Paul Royal. La Salle made its second consecutive NCAA appearance in 2012 after a thrilling overtime victory over VCU in the A-10 Championship final. With the exception of First Team All-Conference goalie Gabrielle Pakhtigian, the Explorers championship team remains largely intact and will depend on the experience of four seniors, including 2012 Defensive Player of the Year, Courtney Niemiec and First Team All-Conference selection, Renee Washington.
On the heels of it debut season in the A-10, the 2012 Championship runner-up VCU Rams are predicted to place third in the league. The Rams, under new coach Lindsey Vanderspiegel, return six seniors, including First Team All-Conference selection, Courtney Conrad, who was part of an offense that ranked second in team goals in league play.
The Richmond Spiders return seven starters including NSCAA D-1 All-American Becca Wann, and land in the fourth spot in the preseason predicted order of finish, followed by Massachusetts (fifth), A-10 newcomer George Mason (sixth), Saint Joseph’s (seventh), Saint Louis (eighth), Fordham (ninth) and Rhode Island (10th). George Washington comes in at 11th, followed by Duquesne (12th) and St. Bonaventure (13th).
The league’s head coaches also voted for an eleven-member Preseason All-Conference Team and All-Rookie team.
The top eight teams will compete in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Women’s Soccer Championship, which will be held Nov. 7-10 at Sport Backers Stadium in Richmond, Va.
Team, 2012 Overall; Conference Record
Total Points, 1st Place Votes
1. Dayton (14-4-2; 7-1-1)
2. La Salle (17-5-1; 8-0-1)
3. VCU (12-5-5; 6-2-1)
4. Richmond (8-9-1; 4-4-1)
5. Massachusetts (9-10-1; 4-4-1)
6. George Mason (7-11-1; 3-6-1/CAA)
7. Saint Joseph’s (9-7-4; 4-2-3)
8. Saint Louis (5-9-4; 3-4-2)
9. Fordham (8-11; 4-5)
10. Rhode Island (11-8-1; 4-5)
11. George Washington (5-12-1; 1-8)
12. Duquesne (6-11-2; 2-6-1)
13. St. Bonaventure (8-11-1; 5-4)
2013 Preseason All-Conference Team
Ashley Campbell, Dayton, Forward
Kelsey Haycook, La Salle, Forward
Becca Wann, Richmond, Forward
Courtney Conrad, VCU, Forward
Juliana Libertin, Dayton, Midfield
Renee Washington, La Salle, Midfield
Mo Hawkins, Saint Joseph’s, Midfield
Sarah Senoyuit, Dayton, Defender
Courtney Niemiec, La Salle, Defender
Ashley Riefner, Richmond, Defender
Devon Tabata, Duquesne, Goalie
2013 Preseason All-Rookie Team
Meghan Blank, Dayton
Libby Leedom, Dayton
Erin O’Malley, Dayton
Diarra Simmons, Dayton
Ashley Nater, Duquesne
Olivia Roberson, Duquesne
Alyssa Fratarcangeli, Massachusetts
Frida Lindblom, Massachusetts
Kaleigh Kurtz, Richmond
Cristina Rodriguez, Saint Louis
Alex Wong, VCU
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