By Steve Lansdale
The Texas women’s soccer team was ranked sixth in the Big 12 coaches’ preseason poll.
The coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own teams, picked two-time defending regular-season and Big 12 tournament champion West Virginia to repeat atop the league’s standings in 2015, with seven of nine coaches casting a first-place vote for the Mountaineers, who received a total of 63 points. The other two first-place votes went to Texas Tech, which earned 55 points.
Oklahoma State (46 points), Kansas (45) and Oklahoma (38) rounded out the top five, followed by Texas (28), TCU (22), Baylor (18) and Iowa State (9).(Continue reading below...)
(...Continued from above.)The Longhorns return 19 letter winners, including seven regular starters, from the team that reached the Big 12 Conference tournament semifinal and the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, finishing the 2014 campaign with a record of 11-8-4.
Among the returners is senior goalkeeper Abby Smith, who earned first-team All-Big 12 and National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Central Region honors after a season in which she allowed 0.92 goals per game, pitched a school record-tying nine shutouts (to give her 24 in her career, the second-highest total in UT history), and led all Big 12 keepers with 98 saves. The accolades for her senior season already have started to roll in for Smith, who was named to Top Drawer Soccer’s Preseason Best XI team.
Also back for the Longhorns are Olivia Brook, who was named to the 2014 Big 12 All-Newcomer team after leading the team in scoring with 16 points on seven goals and a pair of assists; midfielders Lindsey Meyer (12 points on five goals and two assists) and Julia Dyche (eight points on three goals and a pair of assists); forwards Chantale Campbell (11 points on four goals and three assists), Jasmine Hart (nine points on two goals and five assists), Morgan Murphy (three points on a goal and an assist) and Kelsey Shimmick (three points on three assists); and defender Isabelle Kerr (who had one assist while starting 23 games a year ago).
The Longhorns’ returning players represent 70 percent of the goals they scored last season 69 percent of their assists and 69 percent of their total points, while Smith accounted for 91 percent of their victories from a year ago.
The Longhorns kick off their season at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Aug. 14 with an exhibition match against Houston Baptist at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The game will be shown live on the Longhorn Network.
2015 Big 12 Soccer Preseason Poll
School (Ranked in Order) Points
West Virginia (7) 63
Texas Tech (2) 55
Oklahoma State 46
Iowa State 9