UT Martin Picked to Win 2012 OVC Soccer Crown
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - UT Martin has been selected to win the 2012 Ohio Valley Conference women’s soccer title as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Skyhawks, who won their first Conference tournament crown last season, received 13 of the 22 first-place votes and 190 points. Southeast Missouri, the 2011 OVC Regular-Season champions, picked up the remaining nine first-place nods and 180 points for a second-place predicted finish, while Morehead State earned 143 points to be selected to finish third. Eastern Kentucky garnered 130 points to be picked to place fourth while newcomer Belmont and Murray State each received 122 points to round out the top 5. SIUE (98), Austin Peay (92), Eastern Illinois (65), Jacksonville State (33) and Tennessee Tech (33) complete the poll.
UT Martin, which won its first OVC Tournament title in 2011, is coming off a season in which it went 14-7-2 overall and 5-3-1 in the OVC to tie for second place. Phil McNamara enters his third year at the helm of the Skyhawks and will have 13 letterwinners including eight starters from last year’s team. Sophomore forward Alyssa Curtis is among the players returning in 2012. The Franklin, Tenn., native scored five goals and had 18 shots on goal as a freshman. Junior midfielder Hannah McGowen, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., also returns to the field this season. She led the team with 10 assists last year while also scoring three goals. The Skyhawks will also have 2011 All-Newcomer selection Midori Sera (San Francisco, Calif.) back this year. The senior midfielder recorded four goals, including two game winners last season.
Southeast Missouri earned its fourth OVC regular-season title last year after going 12-6-1 overall and 8-1-0 in the OVC. Heather Nelson, who begins her 14th season with the Redhawks, earned her fourth OVC Coach of the Year honor last year. The Redhawks will have six starters among 10 letterwinners returning this season. Among those coming back are junior goalkeeper Ashton Aubuchon, sophomore forward Erin Shulman and senior defender Ali Bauer. Aubuchon, a native of Florrissant, Mo., posted eight shutouts last season to lead the league. She also held the top spot in the conference with a 0.78 goals-against average. A product of Bloomington, Ill., Shulman was named the OVC Freshman of the Year after ranking second in the league with nine goals. She finished the year with 23 shots on-goal and 18 points in 2011. Bauer, a native of St. Charles, Mo., recorded a pair of goals and had four assists last year. She was also apart of a defense that led the league with 10 shutouts.
Morehead State is picked to finish third after placing fifth last year with an 11-8-3 overall mark and a 4-4-1 OVC record. The Eagles will have just two seniors on the squad this year in midfielder Sam Toepfer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and defender Alyssa Nacke (Westerville, Ohio). Toepfer recorded two goals and one assist last year while Nacke had one goal and one assist in 22 games played. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Tresnak (Royal Oak, Mich.) is the team’s top returning scorer as she posted three goals last season. Morehead State will be a young team this year as it welcomes 18 freshman to the squad.
Belmont joins the conference this year while SIUE, which joined the league in 2008, becomes a full Division I member this season and is now eligible for postseason play.
The 2012 season gets underway on Aug. 17 with conference play starting on Sept. 21. The 2012 OVC Soccer Championship will be held on Nov. 1-2, 4 on the campus of the regular-season champion.
From: OVC Media Relations