SSC Preseason Poll Announced for Women's Soccer
The Sunshine State Conference has released its 2014 preseason coaches polls for the fall, and the Florida Southern women’s soccer team has been picked to finish sixth. Rollins edged out Barry for the top position, with the Tars picking up 60 points to the Buccaneers’ 59, though Barry had five first-place votes to Rollins’ four.
Florida Southern brings back nine of its 11 starters, including all but two players who recorded a point in 2013. The Moccasins were in the unique position of having five players share the team lead in goals, and four of them return for 2014. That group includes sophomore Kristy Legoas, senior Kirra Rainbow, and juniors Sarah Goolsby and Caroline Evers. They also feature senior goalkeeper Erin Moseley, a member of the SSC All-Tournament Team two years ago, and a strong group of veteran defenders that includes 2013 team MVP Sydney Montgomery, who is now a senior.
Last year saw Legoas, Rainbow, Goolsby and Evers all score four goals, and Legoas also tied for the team lead with five assists and 13 total points. That made her the first freshman to ever lead or tie for the team lead in goals, assists and points. Rainbow has been a starter since her freshman year and her 27 career points on nine goals and nine assists are the most among current Moccasins. Goolsby has put nine points on the board in each of her first two seasons, and Evers, who was All-SSC in 2012, has nine goals in her career.
In the back, Montgomery is joined by juniors Christine Knudstrup and Gianna Conte, who started all 20 games last year, and have helped the Moccasins post 10 shutouts over the last two seasons. Senior midfielder Jackie Metz, a 3-year starter, has been part of that defense too while adding seven assists.
Voting for the top three spots in the poll was extremely tight, reflecting the balance in the SSC in recent years. Over the last four years, six different teams have won the regular season or conference tournament titles. Rollins’ 1-point margin over Barry marks the second year in a row the preseason favorite has been decided by a single point, and Tampa was only nine points behind Rollins in third.
Rollins returns 10 of its 11 starters from a year ago, including all seven of its 2013 All-SSC honorees. Five of them are seniors looking to give the Tars their second regular season championship in the last three years, and second straight tournament title. Rollins will also begin the year ranked #14 in the NSCAA National Poll.
Barry was last year’s SSC regular season champion before falling to Rollins in the championship game of the conference tournament. The Buccaneers return eight starters, led by five all-conference selections and SSC Defensive Player-of-the-Year Becca Rogers in goal.
Tampa and Saint Leo complete the top four positions in the poll, with the Spartans ranked #18 in the NSCAA Poll.