Memphis Chosen C-USA Women's Soccer Preseason Favorite

Aug. 7, 2012

IRVING, Texas - Five-time defending C-USA champion Memphis has been selected by the league's 12 coaches as the preseason favorite to be the Conference USA Women's Soccer Champion in 2012. The reigning C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Christabel Oduro of Memphis and UCF junior defender Marissa Diggs were voted as the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.

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Last season as a sophomore, Oduro led the league with 39 points, 17 in conference play, with an impressive 16 goals that included six game-winners for the 22-1-1 Tigers. She was an NSCAA All-America third team selection in addition to securing the top offensive honor in the conference. She was named MVP of the C-USA Championship with a goal and assist in the 2-1 double overtime victory against UTEP. She followed that performance up with four goals and an assist in the Tigers' NCAA first-round win over UT-Martin.

The Knights, which advance to the Elite Eight of the 2011 NCAA Championship, ranked second in the coaches' poll. Diggs was joined on the preseason all-conference squad by teammate Tishia Jewell, a 2011 All-Conference USA first team selection. Both were members of the 2011 All-C-USA first team. Diggs anchored a Knight defense that posted 10 shutouts, starting all 24 games for UCF. Jewell led the conference in assists for the second year in a row with 10, while adding seven goals for 24 points to rank second on the C-USA scoring chart.

Colorado College was chosen third by the coaches and the Tigers are represented on the all-preseason squad by sophomore midfielder Jessie Ayers and senior forward Brittany Lyman. In her rookie season, Ayers was named both the C-USA Freshman of the Year and Midfielder of the Year. Lyman earned a spot on the 2011 All-C-USA second team and currently holds the conference record for most goals in a match, with five goals against UTEP as a freshman in 2009.

SMU was selected fourth, while Rice earned the fifth spot with only one vote separating the pair. The Mustangs are represented on the preseason all-conference team by senior midfielder Mallory Baum. Rice placed a trio on the preseason squad in senior defender Lauren LaGro, junior midfielder/forward Jessica Howard and sophomore Quinney Truong. All four earned all-conference honors in 2011, with Baum and Howard on the first team. Truong joins Ayers as the only other sophomore on the preseason team.

Tulsa senior defender Claire Hulcer and UTEP junior Azia Nicholson round out the 11-member preseason team and were second-team all-conference selections in 2011.

The top eight teams at the conclusion of the regular season earn a spot in the 2012 Conference USA Championship, hosted Oct. 31-Nov. 4 by UTEP. The league's 18th season kicks off Friday, Aug. 17.

Christabel Oduro, Jr., MF/F, Memphis (Brampton, Ontario)

Marissa Diggs, Jr., D, UCF (Rowlett, Texas)

Jessie Ayers, So., MF, Colorado College (Seattle, Wash.)
Brittney Lyman, Sr., F, Colorado College (Arvada, Colo.)
Christabel Oduro, Jr., MF/F, Memphis (Brampton, Ontario)
Jessica Howard, Jr., MF/F, Rice (Dallas, Texas)
Lauren LaGro, Sr., D, Rice (Dallas, Texas)
Quinney Truong, So., MF/F, Rice (Fort Worth, Texas)
Mallory Baum, Sr., MF, SMU (Keller, Texas)
Claire Hulcer, Sr., D, Tulsa (St. Louis, Mo.)
Marissa Diggs, Jr., D, UCF (Rowlett, Texas)
Tishia Jewell, Sr., F, UCF (Satellite Beach, Fla.)
Azia Nicholson, Jr., D/MF, UTEP (Grand Prairie, Texas)

(as selected by C-USA coaches)
1. Memphis
2. UCF
3. Colorado College
4. SMU
5. Rice
6. Tulsa
7. East Carolina
9. UAB
10. Houston
11. Marshall
12. Southern Miss

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