APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – After capturing its fourth postseason appearance since 2010 a year ago, Austin Peay State University women’s soccer will be one of the league’s more formidable squads heading into the 2017 season.
The Governors were tabbed to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference’s annual preseason poll, tied with Southeast Missouri.
Reigning champion Murray State was picked to repeat (184 points, 10 first-place votes) followed by SIU Edwardsville (168, six), Eastern Kentucky (164, four), Tennessee Tech (157, two) and the Govs and Redhawks with 121 points each.
Belmont (95) and Morehead State (76) would round out the predicted eight-team postseason field, with Jacksonville State (54), UT Martin (50) and Eastern Illinois (20) finishing out the 11-team field.
“I’m really excited about our team,” said head coach Kelley Guth. “The rankings show how things ended up last year, with us as a fifth seed at the end of the year. SIUE and Murray State have been at the top of the table and they’re the teams to beat.
“It’s a motivation for our team. I don’t feel that we as a team think of ourselves as a middle-of-the-pack squad. There’s something special about this group and it’s going to motivate them to show what type of team we are in every game we play.”
Kirstin Robertson will likely have a say in the accuracy of these standings. The Ashland City Tennessee native posted 11 goals, five assists and a league-high 27 total points, including six game-winning goals en route to second-team All-OVC honors.
Additionally, All-Newcomer honoree Pamela Penaloza returns, while 2015 All-OVC and All-Newcomer pick McKenzie Dixon will be back to full-strength after injury put a damper on her sophomore campaign. Robertson, Penaloza and Dixon will anchor Austin Peay’s offense, with talented newcomers and returnees around to supplement the attack.
Lindsey Todd, who allowed just six goals in league play a year ago, will anchor the defense, which needs to replace first-team All-OVC pick Mary Ruth Locastro and 2016 minutes leader Natalie Smith. Fortunately, 2016 day-one starter Renee Semaan is back along the backline, along with French national Jade Dauriat, to help aid the Governors defensive needs.
Austin Peay will be on the road Thursday for an exhibition contest at Western Illinois. The match will provide Guth another opportunity to evaluate her team before is August 18th regular-season opener at Chattanooga.