FAYETTEVILLE – Despite one of its best recruiting classes ever, the University of Arkansas Lady Razorback soccer team was picked by the Southeastern Conference head coaches to finish fifth in the western division in the annual preseason poll released by the league office on Thursday.
The Lady Razorbacks earned 24 points in the preseason poll, seven behind Alabama, the fourth-place squad and 13 ahead of Mississippi State. The Lady Razorbacks finished fourth in the SEC’s Western Division in 2005, well ahead of their sixth-place prediction.
“Until we prove to the other coaches in the league that we can win consistently, this is where we are going to be ranked,” Arkansas head coach Gordon Henderson said. “We have had back-to-back classes ranked in the top 60 in the nation and turning things around is a process that takes time. Our players are going into the season with the mindset that they can compete against the best in the nation and our outlook is very bright for this fall.”
The University of Mississippi led the Western Division with 57 points and eight of the 12 first-place votes followed by Auburn, (50, 4), LSU (43), and Alabama (31). In the east, Tennessee was the predicted division champion with 57 points and eight first-place votes. Florida earned 52 points and three first-place tallies while Georgia (42, 1), Vanderbilt (32), Kentucky (20) and South Carolina (13) finished off the conference.
The 12 head coaches were also asked to vote on the overall league champion and Tennessee picked up eight votes, while Florida, 3, and Georgia, 1, were also mentioned.
The conference office asked coaches to rank each division, then compiled the responses on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own squads and they were also asked to choose an overall league champion.
For more information about Lady Razorback soccer or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.