Clarksville, TN – After advancing to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship for the second time in three seasons, Austin Peay State University women’s soccer team has been picked to finish second in the 2013 OVC Preseason Poll of head coaches and sports information directors, the conference office announced, Wednesday.
Two-time defending OVC Tournament champion UT Martin was picked to make it three straight, topping the poll with 18 first-place votes and 198 points. For the second time in program history, Austin Peay earned first-place votes in the preseason poll, picking up four votes and 177 total points en route to its second-place standing.
Southeast Missouri (148 points), Eastern Kentucky (137) and SIU Edwardsville (133) rounded out the preseason top five. Belmont, beginning its second season in the OVC, was predicted to snag the final spot in the conference tournament with 119 points. Jacksonville State (84), Morehead State (71), Eastern Illinois (60), Tennessee Tech (44) and Murray State (35) were all prognosticated to be on the outside looking in come tournament time.
Austin Peay returns a host of veterans, led by 2012 OVC Offensive Player of the Year Tatiana Ariza and all-conference selections Natalia Ariza and Haylee Shoaff. While Austin Peay will miss the services of two-time All-OVC honoree Emily Perkins, a loaded senior class that already has more wins than any in Austin Peay history is poised to lead the Lady Govs back to the OVC Tournament.
While a high preseason ranking is nice, the Lady Govs know it’s not a guarantee for success; the last time they were picked this highly in the preseason poll was in 2011, when a wave of injuries down the stretch led to an eighth-place finish in the OVC after a third-place preseason pick.
The Lady Govs open preseason play 6:00pm, Sunday, Aug. 11th with a match at the Jack Allen Sports Complex in Decatur, AL, against Southeastern Conference foe Alabama.