COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- In what is predicted to be a close finish at the top, Murray State has been selected to win the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference women’s soccer title as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Racers, who captured their first league tournament crown last year, received seven of the 18 first-place votes and 117 points. Morehead State picked up nine-first place nods and 116 points to claim the no. 2 spot, while UT Martin took the last two first-place votes and 86 points for no. 3. Tennessee Tech is selected to finish fourth with 77 points followed by Eastern Kentucky (74), Eastern Illinois (70), Southeast Missouri (60), Jacksonville State (32) and Austin Peay (16).
“Being ranked at the no. 4 spot gives us something to work towards and room for improvement as we head into pre-season this week,” said TTU head coach Daniel Brizard. “I know that the team is eager to match up against all of our conference rivals, and the teams sitting in the top spots will undoubtedly be some of the opponents that will push us to our fullest potential this year.”
Tech, last year’s runner-up in the OVC tournament final, finished the 2009 season with a 3-3-2 record in the OVC (7-12-3 overall) and is returning 20 letterwinners this season. Returnees include last season’s leading scorer, Jennifer Hoffman (Martinsburg, West VA.), who netted nine goals last year and earned accolades as the 2009 OVC Offensive Player of the Year. Andrea Meloff (Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Kris Cambron (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.), members of last year’s OVC all-newcomer team, combined for 12 goals during the 2009 season and each earned individual OVC honors as Player of the Week (Meloff) and Co-Freshman of the Year (Cambron, with Murray State’s Danielle McMurray).
“We will look to the returnees (Hoffman, Meloff and Cambron, among several others,) to be the natural leaders of the team both on and off the field,” said Brizard. “Reaching the OVC tournament final and helping to put TTU on the map once again was a valuable experience that the returnees will have leading into this fall.”
Murray State is coming off its first OVC tournament title after going 5-2-1 in conference action and posting a 11-9-2 overall record. Beth Acreman enters her fifth season as the head coach of the Racers and will have her top scorer returning for the 2010 season. Senior forward Kalli McCoy (Benton, Ky.) led the team with six goals while sophomore forward/midfielder Danielle McMurray (Germantown, Tenn.) was named the OVC Co-Freshman of the Year in 2009 with Cambron. Senior goalkeeper Tara Isbell (Mayfield, Ky.) will be back in net in 2010.
Morehead State earned a share of its first OVC regular-season title last year after going 8-7-4 overall and 5-0-3 in the OVC. Warren Lipka was named the OVC Coach of the Year last season in his first year at the helm of the Eagle soccer team. He will have 15 letterwinners returning from last year’s championship team. Junior forward Devan Jordan (Westerville, Ohio) is among the top returnees after she ranked in the league’s top 10 in shots (33), points (14) and goals (6). Back in goal for the Eagles will be senior goalkeeper Lily Meisner.
UT Martin captured a share of its first OVC regular-season title last season after posting a 6-2 OVC mark and going 9-7 overall. The Skyhawks will be under new direction this season as Phil McNamara takes over the head coaching duties. McNamara comes to UT Martin after spending the last eight seasons as the head coach at Carson-Newman College. McNamara will have 10 letterwinners returning from last year’s championship squad including the team’s top scorer in sophomore forward Kendyl Wilson (Collierville, Tenn.).
The Golden Eagle’s 2010 season gets underway on Aug. 9 with an exhibition game against Alabama in Chattanooga, while conference play begins on Oct. 1 for Tech. The 2010 OVC Soccer Championship will be held on Nov. 4-5, 7 on the campus of the regular-season champion.
2010 OVC WOMEN’S SOCCER PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
(As selected by the OVC Women’s Head Soccer Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
1. Murray State (Seven first-place votes) - 117
2. Morehead State (Nine first-place votes) - 116
3. UT Martin (Two first-place votes) - 86
4. Tennessee Tech - 77
5. Eastern Kentucky - 74
6. Eastern Illinois - 70
7. Southeast Missouri - 60
8. Jacksonville State - 32
9. Austin Peay - 16