Senior defender Suzanne Edwards returns to lead the Big South-favorite Lady Flames.
The Liberty University's women's soccer team has been chosen first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted on by the league's head women's soccer coaches and sports information directors. The panel also voted Winthrop junior goalkeeper Dimitra Poulos the league's Preseason Player of the Year. Both selections were announced today by the Big South Conference office. Liberty, which won the 2005 Big South Championship and finished as the Big South Runner-up in 2006, received five first-place votes and 109 points out of a possible 128. Thus, the Lady Flames are favored to capture the conference's women's soccer championship this season. A year ago, Liberty made its fifth appearance in the league title game in the past eight seasons. Liberty looks to have a deep and talented squad in 2007 as 14 letterwinners, including seven starters, return for head coach James Price. Leading the way are 2006 Big South first team all-conference players, defender Suzanne Edwards (Sr., Waxhaw, N.C.) and midfielder Amy Oberlin (Jr., Ada, Mich.). Edwards also was named first team VaSID All-State, while Oberlin is the top returning scorer for the Lady Flames after netting five goals and three assists for 13 points last season. Liberty finished ahead of 2006 regular-season champion Winthrop, which collected six first-place votes and 99 points. Coastal Carolina finished a close third in the voting with three first place votes and 98 points, while defending Big South Champion UNC Asheville collected one first-place vote and 90 points for the fourth spot. High Point was fifth with 59 points. Radford totaled 57 points for sixth in the poll, followed by Charleston Southern, who garnered a first-place vote and 45 points. VMI rounds out the field with 19 points. Poulos was selected as the Big South Preseason Player of Year, after garnering 11 first-place votes and 25 points. The Winthrop junior goalkeeper was 2006 Big South Player of the Year. The Lady Flames begin the 2007 season on Aug. 31 at Clemson. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m. Price's squad will open its home slate on Sept. 15 by hosting Old Dominion. The Big South Women's Soccer Championship is slated for Nov. 8-11 at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C. 2007 Big South Conference Preseason Women's Soccer Poll (First-place votes in parentheses) 1. Liberty (5) - 109 points 2. Winthrop (6) - 99 3. Coastal Carolina (3) - 98 4. UNC Asheville (1) - 90 5. High Point - 59 6. Radford - 57 7. Charleston Southern (1) - 45 8. VMI - 19
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