Aug. 6, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Colorado College, coming off an at-large NCAA appearance and a shared regular-season Conference USA title, has been selected the preseason favorite to win the 2013 C-USA Women's Soccer Championship by the league's coaches.
The Tigers compiled a 14-4-5 overall record last season and earned the top seed in the 2012 C-USA Championship under head coach Geoff Bennett. Colorado College returns six starters and 19 veterans from last year's squad, including two-time C-USA Midfielder of the Year Jessie Ayers. Among the 16-member Players to Watch squad is CC senior defender Kecia Morway, who was a key component to the Tigers' back line that was credited with 10 shutouts a year ago.
Complete C-USA Women's Soccer Release
Rice was picked second in the coaches' vote, while North Texas was third. The Owls shared the 2012 C-USA regular-season title with Colorado College, posting an 8-2-1 mark in league play. Player to Watch Holly Hargreaves was named the 2012 C-USA Freshman of the Year and the only rookie to earn all-conference first team honors. Hargreaves and teammate Lauren Hughes combined for 19 of Rice's 25 goals last season.
North Texas comes off its second-straight Sun Belt title in 2012 and earned a berth to the NCAA Championship with a 16-5-2 overall record. Team captain and Player to Watch Kelsey Hodges will lead the Mean Green into its first season of competition in C-USA. Hodges was a 2012 NSCAA All-South Region second-team selection.
Tulsa was selected fourth after coming off a trip to the C-USA Championship title game in 2012. The Golden Hurricane finished last season with 12 wins, including nine shutouts, and outscored its opponents 37-17. Senior midfielder Jordan O'Brien is TU's Player to Watch as a three-year letterwinner and all-conference selection.
Newcomer FIU was the fifth-place pick, and the top selection in the east division. Advancing to the finals of the 2012 Sun Belt Championships, FIU finished the season 13-6-2 and was co-regular season champions. Senior forward Chelsea Leiva earned 2012 All-SBC first team and all-tournament team honors as well as NSCAA All-South Second Team recognition.
The Panthers will be joined in the east by Charlotte, East Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Marshall, UAB, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion. UTEP, Louisiana Tech, UTSA and Southern Miss round out the west division.
The top five teams in each division following the regular season will earn a spot in the 2013 Conference USA Championship, hosted by Rice University November 4-10. The league's 19th women's soccer season kicks off Friday, August 23. Click here for a composite C-USA women's soccer schedule.
2013 C-USA PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH
|Amanda Jones||Charlotte|| Jr.||MF/F||Mahwah, N.J.|
|Kecia Morway||Colorado College|| Sr.||D||Lake Villa, Ill.|
|Lexi Miller||East Carolina|| Jr.-R||MF||Raleigh, N.C.|
|Chelsea Leiva||FIU|| Sr.||F||Royal Palm Beach, Fla.|
|Claire Emslie||Florida Atlantic|| So.||MF||Penicuik, Milothian, Scotland|
|Erica Stewart||Louisiana Tech|| So.||MF||Columbus, Ind.|
|Erin Simmons||Marshall|| So.||F||Gahanna, Ohio|
|Kate Loye||Middle Tennessee|| So.||MF||Hamilton, New Zealand|
|Kelsey Hodges||North Texas|| Sr.||D||Denton, Texas|
|Jessie Klamut||Old Dominion|| Jr.||MF/F||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|Holly Hargreaves||Rice|| So.||F||New Hope, Pa.|
|Danica Roberts||Southern Miss|| Sr.||F||West Yorkshire, England|
|Jordan O'Brien||Tulsa|| Sr.||MF||Garden Grove, Calif.|
|Johanna Liney||UAB|| Jr.||MF||Marietta, Ga.|
|Azia Nicholson||UTEP|| Sr.||D||Grand Prairie, Texas|
|Anka Grotle||UTSA|| Sr.||D||Bremanger, Norway|
CONFERENCE USA PLAYERS TO WATCH
Amanda Jones, Charlotte, Jr., MF/F, Mahwah, N.J.
Jones was named to the 2012 All-Atlantic 10 Conference second team. She is the 49ers' leading returning scorer with seven goals and five assists for 19 points in 2012 as one of three players to start all 20 games. Jones ranked among the top 20 players in her conference all season by TopDrawerSoccer.com last year. She also earned a spot on the A-10 all-rookie team in 2011.
Kecia Morway, Colorado College, Sr., D, Lake Villa, Ill.
Morway was a key component to the CC defense that registered a .82 GAA and recorded 10 shutouts and helped the Tigers return to the NCAA tournament in 2012. She ranked second on the team for minutes played with 2,008 and was a threat coming forward out of the back line. An All-Conference third team selection, Morway will serve as team captain in 2013, in just her second season with the team. A transfer from Notre Dame, she played 1,772 minutes for the National Champion Fighting Irish and earned 2010 Freshman All-America honors from Soccer America.
Lexi Miller, East Carolina, R-Jr., MF, Raleigh, N.C.
Miller has started 11 of 27 career games for the Pirates, tallying 12 points (5 Gs, 2 As). She has logged more than 1,000 minutes in two seasons. In 2012, she netted a pair of GWGs in 10 starts before suffering a season-ending injury. She tied for second on the squad in goals (3) and third in points (6), and posted 13 shots (nine on goal).
Chelsea Leiva, FIU, Sr., F, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
Leiva earned NSCAA Second-Team All-South Region and First-Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2012. She also earned a spot on the SBC All-Tournament Team, notching a goal and two assists as FIU advanced to the 2012 finals. She appeared and started in all 21 games for the Panthers. Leiva led FIU in scoring (29 - 11g, 7a) and her 29 points were the second-most in the conference. She increased her career total to 68 points (No. 6 all-time at FIU) and 26 career goals (No. 6 all-time at FIU). Leiva also tied her career-high for assists in a season with seven.
Claire Emslie, Florida Atlantic, So., MF, Penicuik, Milothian, Scotland
Emslie ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference with 10 goals and was among the top five players in six offensive categories during her debut season. Those 10 goals ranked seventh-best in a season by an FAU player in program history. Six of her goals were netted in conference matches and three were game-winning efforts. Emslie was named Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after scoring a hat trick against UAB on September 16. Two weeks later, the Scotland native netted a pair of goals against Middle Tennessee.
Erica Stewart, Louisiana Tech, So., MF, Columbus, Ind.
Stewart played in all 21 matches last season, while starting in seven of them, including the last three, She scored one goal and recorded three assists versus Louisiana College, tying the program record for most assists in a single match. Stewart also netted the game-winning goals against Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State last season.
Erin Simmons, Marshall, So., F, Gahanna, Ohio
Simmons played in all 19 games for the Herd and started 18 as a freshman. She scored six goals, tied for best on the team, and had two assists. She scored game-winning goals against Morehead State, UTEP and UAB. For the season, she also put 22 of her 35 shots on goal and converted all three of her penalty kick attempts.
Kate Loye, Middle Tennessee, So., MF, Hamilton, New Zealand
Loye was voted 2012 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year by the league's coaches and earned All-Sun Belt first team honors. She recorded seven goals and six assists in just 17 games. Of Loye's 50 shots, 22 were on goal (.440). She scored twice at UALR (9/21). Loye started 17 games for the Blue Raiders and played a complete match 10 times. She arrived to campus late in the 2012 season due to representing New Zeeland in the U-20 World Cup.
Kelsey Hodges, North Texas, Sr., D, Denton, Texas
A team captain and uncontested leader of the 2013 two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champion Mean Green, Hodges is the anchor of the North Texas defense. She ranks 10th in NT history in career minutes (since 2004) among position players with 5,267. Her 68 career shots on goal rank ninth in school history, and her 23 career goals are only three shy of 10th place in program history. She owns six career game-winning goals, which is only one shy of 10th place in North Texas history. A two-time All-Sun Belt first-team selection, she was also named to the NSCAA All-South Region second team in 2012.
Jessie Klamut, Old Dominion, Jr., MF/F, Virginia Beach, Va.
Klamut has appeared in all 37 games throughout her freshman and sophomore seasons. Last season, the junior from Virginia Beach, Va. netted a goal against VMI and Hofstra. Through the past two seasons, Klamut has gained valuable experience on the pitch and now looks to lead the Lady Monarchs during the 2013-14 season.
Holly Hargreaves, Rice, So., F, New Hope, Pa.
The returning C-USA Freshman of the Year, Hargreaves earned national All-Freshman team honors from Soccer America and second team All-Central Region from the NSCAA. She was named first team all-conference after leading the Owls and ranking among the league's best in goals (10), game-winning goals (6), points (23) and shots (76). Hargreaves was the first player in Rice history to score goals in four-straight games, and each one in the streak was the game-winning goal. She finished with six game-winning goals overall. Hargreaves also established a new Rice record for shots taken in a single season (76).
Danica Roberts, Southern Miss, Sr., F, West Yorkshire, England
Roberts led the Golden Eagle attack from the beginning of the season to the end. She started 14 games and appeared in all 17, scoring a team-high six goals and leading the squad with 12 total points. Roberts had a team-best 34 shots and 16 shots on goal. She was a perfect 2-for-2 on penalty kick attempts (against East Carolina and ULM) and scored the game winner against Arkansas State (9/14). She had her first multi-goal game in the Black and Gold against Louisiana-Monroe (9/3) with a pair of goals.
Jordan O'Brien, Tulsa, Sr., MF, Garden Grove, Calif.
O'Brien is a three-year letterwinner who has started in 53 of 58 career contests. She has tallied five goals and 12 assists for 22 points, and has attempted 78 shots. O'Brien was tabbed to the All-Conference USA first team as a freshman, and third team as a sophomore and junior. She was also named to the 2010 C-USA All-Freshman team, and has been selected to the Top Drawer Soccer C-USA Top-20 list the last two years.
Johanna Liney, UAB, Jr., MF, Marietta, Ga.
Liney led the Blazers in goals (6), assists (3), points (15), and shots (39) in 2012. She tied for a team high with 15 shots on goal. Liney started in 17 contests while appearing in all 19 games for UAB and was voted to the All-Conference USA Third Team.
Azia Nicholson, UTEP, Sr., D, Grand Prairie, Texas
Nicholson has been well respected within the league and region, earning multiple All-Conference USA and NSCAA All-Region awards. In 2012, she was named to the NSCAA All-Region third team and All-C-USA second team. She ranked second on the team in both goals (six) and points (15), while tying for fifth in assists (three), and paced the Miners and tied for fourth in C-USA with three game-winning goals. Nicholson enters her senior season ranked 10th all-time in school history for minutes played (5426).
Anka Grotle, UTSA, Sr., D, Bremanger, Norway
Grotle was the first player in program history to earn first-team all-conference honors in back-to-back seasons after she was selected to Southland Conference's top squad in 2010 and '11. She also was a Preseason All-Western Athletic Conference selection in 2012. Grotle has started all but one game that she has played in and her 58 starts and 5,001 minutes of action are tops among returners in 2013. The leader of the UTSA defense, she helped the Roadrunners to 18 shutouts her first two seasons, including a school-record of 10 as a freshman.