The USA South Athletic Conference's women's soccer coaches have released their 2018 preseason polls. Each divisional preseason poll only includes votes from coaches within that particular division-only. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.
Placing first in the USA South East Division poll was Methodist University, led by ninth-year head coach Bryan Madej. The Monarchs are the defending Conference Tournament champions, capturing the title as the fourth seed from the East Division. Methodist earned its second League Tournament crown, its first since 2007, but fell in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs received 41 points and two first place votes and were followed closely by last season's co-East Division Regular Season Champions, Salem College with 40 points and three first place votes, and Meredith College with 39 points and one first place vote. Pfeiffer University finished fourth in the poll with one first place vote while Greensboro College checked in at fifth with the final remaining first place vote.
Tied atop the USA South West Division poll were Maryville College, coached by Pepe Fernandez in his 28th season, and Piedmont College, led by second-year head coach Timmy McCormack. Each team shared the League Division Championship last year with identical 6-0-1 Conference records which included a 2-2 tie in their only meeting. The Scots and Lions each received 60 total points in the preseason poll as Maryville grabbed five first place votes to Piedmont's four.
Maryville is returning eight of eleven starters on a squad that went 14-3-2 last year. The Scots return six of seven All-USA South performers from a year ago including Shannon Reagan, Miranda Lukas, Abbie Anderson, Hannah Clothier, Kelly Allen, and USA South Rookie of the Year Bailey Sipos. This talent should prove for an exciting season.
"Last year's team was very young and unproven. They developed into one of the most exciting teams ever at MC," exclaimed Coach Fernandez. "One of our goals was to challenge that group and improve our depth. It appears that the new players have the quality to do this."
MC's talented and deep roster opens their season on September 1st at Lynchburg College.
The USA South welcomed Brevard College and Pfeiffer University last season as institutions reclassifying from NCAA Division II status. This year each of their teams are included in the preseason poll and eligible for regular season championship honors. Both Brevard and Pfeiffer still will not be eligible to qualify for the USA South Tournament and/or the NCAA Tournament until full NCAA Division III membership is established.
The 2018 USA South Women's Soccer Tournament will once again be conducted exclusively on campus sites. The top-six seeded teams from each division will advance to the tournament.