Northwestern State voted to top spot in Southland women’s soccer preseason poll

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Defending tournament champions earn maximum first-place votes

FRISCO, Texas – Earning the maximum number of first-place votes (16), Northwestern State is favored to repeat as Southland Conference soccer champions after receiving 128 total points in the preseason poll, as announced by the league Thursday. The preseason predicted order of finish is presented by Ready®.

The Lady Demons placed a league-high eight student-athletes on the preseason all-conference teams, including four on the top squad. Among the squad’s returners are defending Southland Player and Forward of the Year Olivia Draguicevich, three-time reigning Southland Defender of the Year Nicole Henry and last year’s Freshman of the Year Caroline Hilliard.

Last season, first-year head coach Stuart Gore fostered the buy-in from a veteran squad and led them to their first conference championship in more than 20 years. NSU claimed a pair of 1-0 decisions at the conference tournament to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, where the Lady Demons fell to Arkansas.

McNeese grabbed one of the remaining first-place votes and was selected to the No. 2 spot with 113 total points. Just seven points separated the next four teams in the poll in Lamar (77), UIW (74), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (72) and Southeastern (70). HBU follows with 56 total points, ahead of Texas A&M-Commerce (36) and Nicholls (22) to round out the predicted order of finish.

The 2022 season gets underway Thursday, Aug. 18, with five squads in action, and the conference slate begins Friday, Sept. 9. The 2022 Southland Conference Soccer Tournament will be played Nov. 2-6 in Natchitoches, La.

The Southland Conference preseason poll is voted on by each school’s head coach and soccer sports information director. Each voter ranks their predicted order of regular-season finish, not including their own team. First-place votes are worth eight points, second-place votes are worth seven, and so on to one point for eighth place.

2022 Southland Soccer Preseason Poll
School (First-place votes) Total
1. Northwestern State (16) 128
2. McNeese (1) 113
3. Lamar 77
4. UIW (1) 74
5. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 72
6. Southeastern 70
7. HBU 56
8. Texas A&M-Commerce 36
9. Nicholls 22

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