RICHARDSON -- The UT Tyler women's soccer team has been predicted to finish third in the American Southwest Conference preseason poll. The annual poll is voted on by the head coaches and sports information directors in the ASC.
After finishing last season with a 10-6-3 (9-3-1) record and a first-round loss in the ASC tournament, the Patriots received 270 points in the poll.
This season, the Patriots return three seniors that played a big roll on last year's squad. Charity Shipman, a first team All-Conference player a year ago returns, along with third team All-Conference perfomer Lindsey Edwards and defender Amanda Weaver.
Hardin-Simmons (20-2, 13-0), which has won or shared a conference record 14 titles, is the preseason pick to do it once again. The Cowgirls received 25 out of 26 first-place votes and totaled 337 points. Texas-Dallas received the only other first-place vote and was picked as the preseason runner-up in 2012.
Rounding out the preseason top-six, a group who would make the ASC postseason, are Concordia-Texas (14-6, 10-3) with 253 points, Howard Payne (11-6-1, 9-3) with 238 points and Mississippi College (10-7-1, 7-5-1) with 207 points.
East Texas Baptist (11-6-1, 8-4), Mary Hardin-Baylor (5-12-1, 5-8) and Texas Lutheran (5-13, 5-8) are the next-three in the poll at number seven, eight and nine.
The bottom-four teams in the preseason poll finished with a combined 11 wins last season. LeTourneau (3-15, 2-11) comes in with 90 points, Louisiana College (2-17, 2-11) with 79 points, Ozarks (3-16, 2-11) with 62 points and Schreiner (3-15, 2-11) with 55 points.
UT Tyler enters it's sixth season as a NCAA-postseason eligible program, and is looking to break-through to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance this season.
The Patriots open the season against Hendrix in Conway, Ark., on Aug. 31 at 7 pm.
The home opener will be under the "Friday Night Lights", presented by Eastbay on Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. against Trinity.