After finishing sixth a season ago and advancing to the Ohio Valley Conference tournament semifinal, SIUE women’s soccer was picked to finish fifth in the OVC preseason poll released today by the conference. The Cougars received 133 points based on voting by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
UT Martin was picked to repeat as regular season champions, garnering 18 of 22 first-place votes for 198 points. Austin Peay was picked second with 177 points and received the other four first-place votes. Southeast Missouri (148 points) and Eastern Kentucky (137) were picked third and fourth, respectively.
“It’s always interesting to see how other programs view you and the direction your program is going,” SIUE Head Coach Derek Burton said. “They are a lot of games to be played between now and the time the standings are final.”
The top six teams in the regular season advance to the postseason tournament. Belmont was chosen sixth, meaning the six teams that qualified for the tournament last season were chosen to again comprise the top six.
“The margin of error as far as conference games is very small,” Burton added. “We’ll do everything we can to place ourselves in the best possible position at season’s end.”
The Cougars finished last season 7-8-4, including 4-4-2 in the OVC. SIUE plays host to Western Illinois in an exhibition match Friday, Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. The Cougars open the regular season Friday, Aug. 23 at Kansas City.
The entire preseason poll:
1. UT Martin (18 first-place votes) 198
2. Austin Peay (Four first-place votes) 177
3. Southeast Missouri 148
4. Eastern Kentucky 137
5. SIUE 133
6. Belmont 119
7. Jacksonville State 84
8. Morehead State 71
9. Eastern Illinois 60
10. Tennessee Tech 44
11. Murray State 35