CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina women’s soccer was tabbed seventh in the 2017 Southern Conference preseason poll as selected by the league coaches Thursday.
The Catamounts finished eighth in 2016 with an overall record of 8-12 and 4-5 in Southern Conference play. Western Carolina defeated Wofford 2-1 in double overtime in the first round of the SoCon Championships last season before falling to ETSU 2-1.
Three-time defending Southern Conference regular-season champion Samford was picked to win the league again in 2017 collecting eight first-place votes and 81 points total. Furman picked up one first-place vote, and ETSU tied for second, totaling 67 points apiece. UNCG is slated to finish fourth in the poll with 56 points while Mercer came in fifth with 50 points. Chattanooga (40), Western Carolina (34), VMI (22), The Citadel (19) and Wofford (14), rounded out the poll.
Western Carolina defeated UNC Asheville 4-2 Tuesday in the first of the team’s two exhibition games in 2017. Junior midfielder Megan McCallister recorded a hat-trick, scoring three goals in the first half, against the Bulldogs. McCallister missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, however, in the now seven games she has played for WCU, including five regular season games and two exhibition games, the Catamounts’ are 6-1 with her in the line-up.
The Catamounts will complete exhibition play on Friday traveling to UNC Wilmington for a 7 p.m. contest. The game will be live streamed on the Seahawks’ website at www.uncwsports.com.
Western Carolina will host its season and home opener at 7 p.m. Friday August 18 welcoming Morehead State to the Catamount Athletic Complex. The Catamounts dropped the 2016 meeting with the Eagles 3-1 in Morehead, Ky.
The Catamounts return nine starters from the 2016 season and added 10 newcomers. The players coming back for the upcoming season accounted for 23 of the 26 goals scored last year.
The top two scorers for the Catamounts, in the 2016 season, will be returning for the upcoming campaign. Redshirt senior Kasey Cooke and junior Sayres McKenna each had six goals in 2016 and McKenna also dished out a career-best six assists.
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