Stetson women’s soccer has been picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference annual preseason poll, the league office announced on Thursday.
The Hatters, who also opened training camp on Thursday, received 40 votes in a poll of league head coaches. FGCU corralled the top spot in the poll with 59 points and four first-place votes just ahead of Jacksonville with 57 and two first-place nods. Kennesaw State (48), Stetson and Lipscomb (33) rounded out the top-five of the rankings.
FGCU's Tabby Tindell and Jacksonville's Kaitlyn Bassett shared the top individual honors as the league's Preseason Co-Players of the Year after each recorded double-digit goals in 2013. FGCU's tandem of Emma Blackwell and Brittany Brown secured the Preseason Defensive Player and Goalkeeper of the Year awards.
Stetson returns seven starters and 12 letter winners from last season’s team which went 6-10-2 overall and finished fifth in the A-Sun under rookie head coach Manoj Khettry. The Hatters, who advanced to the A-Sun Tournament for the first time in three years in 2013, also welcome 14 newcomers to the squad.
Following eight days of practice, the Hatters open the season with a pair of exhibition games. Stetson visits USF on Aug. 15, and hosts county rival Embry-Riddle on Aug. 17.
Big Ten foe Minnesota serves as the season-opening opponent for the Hatters when the regular season officially kicks off Aug. 22 in DeLand.