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Women's Soccer Picked No. 1 in Preseason Poll
The Liberty women's soccer team has been chosen first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted by the league's head women's soccer coaches.
Liberty, the defending 2009 regular-season champions, received five first-place votes and 94 points as the 2010 women's soccer favorite. Led by 2009 Big South Coach of the Year Jessica Hain, the Lady Flames finished ahead of Charleston Southern in the poll, as the Buccaneers totaled 87 points and four first-place votes.
Coastal Carolina garnered third place (72 points), followed by 2009 Big South Tournament champion High Point (69), who received the final first-place vote. Rounding out the rest of the field were Radford (68), Gardner-Webb (55), Winthrop (36), VMI (31), UNC Asheville (23) and Presbyterian College (15).
In addition, the coaches voted Charleston Southern forward Marky Boyce the League's Preseason Attacking Player of the Year, while Radford goalkeeper Lisa Lubke was voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Liberty's Maria Owen, who was nominated for the Preseason Attacking Player of the Year honor, finished second in the voting.
Owen, a senior forward, started all 19 games for the Lady Flames in 2009. She scored six goals and recorded four assists for a team-high 16 points. Owen was a 2009 Big South first-team all-conference pick and a Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division All-State second-team selection.
After finishing the 2009 campaign as the regular-season Big South champions, the Lady Flames are hoping to capture the conference tournament crown in 2010 for the first time since 2005. Last season's squad executed the best turnaround in Big South history, progressing from a mark of 3-12-2 in 2008 to a 9-7-3 record in 2009.
Liberty will begin its season Aug. 20 with a Commonwealth clash against No. 17 Virginia at Klöckner Stadium at 7 p.m. The match will be the first of four-straight games on the road to open the 2010 campaign. The Lady Flames are slated to make their 2010 debut inside Osborne Stadium on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. against James Madison.
2010 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Soccer Poll
Team (first place votes) - total points
1. Liberty (5) - 94
2. Charleston Southern (4) - 87
3. Coastal Carolina - 72
4. High Point (1) - 69
5. Radford - 68
6. Gardner-Webb - 55
7. Winthrop - 36
8. VMI - 31
9. UNC Asheville - 23
10. Presbyterian College - 15