PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville women’s soccer team was picked to finish eighth in the Mid-South Conference standings, according to a preseason coaches’ poll released by league officials on Tuesday.
UPIKE went 7-8-1 overall and 1-7-1 in the MSC last season, finishing 10th in the league. The lone conference win came against Bluefield (Va.), 3-0, but since then the Rams and Rio Grande (Ohio) have left the MSC.
There’s reason for optimism around the Bears’ program in 2014 as the top two returning goal scorers, Kayla Scott (9) and Carmen Koster (5), are back, along with All-MSC goalkeeper Chelsea Schulte. Add defensive stopper Kaitlyn Abdon to the mix and UPIKE should be ready to compete.
Lindsey Wilson is the preseason favorite after winning the 2014 MSC Championship and advancing to the semifinals of the NAIA National Championship. The Blue Raiders picked up 47 points in the poll while collecting five of the eight available first-place votes.
Cumberland (Tenn.) is next in line with 44 points and three first-place votes, followed by Campbellsville (32) and Georgetown and St. Catharine in a tie for fourth with 28 points each.
Rounding out the list ahead of UPIKE is Shawnee State (Ohio) at No. 6 with 23 points and Cumberlands at No. 7 with 12.
The Bears are scheduled to open the season on Aug. 23 at Berea with the home opener on the slate for 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 4 against Salem International (W. Va.) at the Bob Amos Soccer Complex.
Postseason play in the MSC Championship begins on Nov. 8 with quarterfinal games on campus sites, with the last two rounds to follow on Nov. 13-14 in Campbellsville.