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August 12, 2009

Tech soccer picked to finish fifth in Ohio Valley Conference

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - The Tennessee Tech soccer team has been picked to finish fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference by the league's head coaches and sports information directors.

Last year the Golden Eagles finished the regular season in sixth place with a 3-4-1 record, and advanced to the conference tournament for the first time in five years.

"It puts us in the middle, so there is still a lot of work to be done but it shows that this team is respected," Tech coach Becky Fletcher said. "We still have to go out on the field and prove it."

Defending regular season champion Murray State was picked to repeat as champions, receiving 12 of 18 possible first-places votes. The Racers went 7-1 in the league last year, winning the regular season crown.

"Murray is solid from top to bottom, and they have proved that they deserve to be picked at the top of the league," Fletcher said.

UT Martin and Morehead State tied in second place in the voting, each receiving two first-place votes. The Skyhawks advanced all the way to the OVC championship game last season, after finishing 4-2-2 in the regular season. Morehead State is the league's defending tournament champion and advanced to the NCAA tournament after going 4-2-2 in league play in 2008.
 
"UT Martin is a very solid squad, and I know they have a bulk of their starters coming back," Fletcher said. "And then you've got Morehead State who is coming off a trip to the NCAA tournament. That shows how much parity there is in this league. Top to bottom, it's going to be a battle. Every single game in this league is a big game."

Eastern Kentucky was picked one spot ahead of Tech, in fourth, with Southeast Missouri, Jacksonville State, Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay rounding out the bottom four.

The Golden Eagles are one week into their fall camp, and just over a week away from the start of the regular season, with the season opener coming August 21 at home against Middle Tennessee. Tech will kick off league play on September 25 when it hosts UT Martin. The Golden Eagles play host to the top three teams in the preseason poll.

"Every game you're playing for something," Fletcher said. "You're trying to get to the conference tournament, and once you're there, you're trying to get to the NCAA tournament."


OVC Preseason Predicted Order of Finish
(As selected by the leagues head coaches and sports information directors)

1. Murray State
T2. Morehead State
T2. UT Martin
4. Eastern Kentucky
5. Tennessee Tech
6. Southeast Missouri
7. Jacksonville State
8. Eastern Illinois
9. Austin Peay