Coastal Carolina's women's soccer team has been chosen first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted by the BSC's women's soccer coaches. In addition, the coaches voted Coastal Carolina redshirt senior midfielder/forward Ashleigh Gunning (Baton Rouge, La.) as the preseason player of the year.
Winthrop was picked to finish sixth in the 10-team conference.
Charleston Southern's Emma Mattsson was second in the preseason voting with 15 points (two first-place votes), followed by Winthrop goalkeeper Dimitra Poulos (eight points, two first-place votes) and High Point's Sara Rager (seven points, one first-place vote).
Poulos is a senior from Wollongong, Australia. She started all 19 games last season and recorded five shutouts.
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• CROSS COUNTRY -- The mens and womens cross country teams will travel to Boone, N.C., on Friday, where they will compete in the Covered Bridge Open.
Other schools in the field include Appalachian State, Florida State, University of North Florida, Clemson, USC-Upstate, Mars Hill, Queens College, Lees-McRae, Lenoir-Rhyne, Valdosta State and Spartanburg Methodist. The host school, Appalachian State, will compete in the Winthrop Invitational on Sept. 20.
Coach Ben Paxton said Florida State and Clemson will both be contenders for the ACC title this year.
Paxton had his team running at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday as usual, even with the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay pouring down on them.
"We will probably have to run in those conditions at a meet sometime, so we might as well practice in it," Paxton said.
Both the mens and womens teams were recently tabbed to finish in fifth place among the 10-team Big South Conference. Liberty was picked first in the polls as voted by the BSC's cross country coaches.
• VOLLEYBALL -- Winthrop volleyball begins the year on Friday at the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C. Coach Sally Polhamus' team has adopted the phrase"Together We Will" for the season. The second-year coach has five freshmen and six sophomores on her 13-player roster.
• As part of the Big South Conference's 25th Anniversary celebration in 2008-09, former Winthrop volleyball player Mary Hock and the Eagles' championship run from 2002-06 is the first weekly profile of the Top 25 "Best of the Best" moments in BSC history that was launched Tueday.
A video vignette providing a first-hand account on Hock and Winthrop volleyball is now available for viewing on the Big South's Web site, BigSouthSports.com, under the 25th Anniversary Media Center banner. Additional vignettes around other "Best of the Best" moments are also available, and the full vignette collection of the Top 25 "Best of the Best" moments will be posted as they are completed in the near future.
• MEN'S SOCCER -- Coach Rich Posipanko has his team in the Umbro Soccer for a Cure Classic on the campus of Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Friday and Sunday. Gardner-Webb is a new member of the Big South Conference. Winthrop will host the Bulldogs on October 30.
The Eagles' offense failed to find the back of the net in two preseason matches. Junior midfielders Matthew Skonicki and Michael Luk looked good against Clemson last weekend and could take some of the scoring burden off senior forward Daniel Revivo.
"The final third (against Clemson) we didn't attack as well. Hopefully, we can create some scoring going into the season," Winthrop assistant coach Dan Ridenhour said after the scoreless tie against the Tigers last Sunday.
• ON THE AIR -- Former Winthrop soccer player and current Northwestern varsity soccer coach Dom Wren was calling the Winthrop vs. Clemson exhibition for the Big South Conference's "The Edge." The Internet-based service provides video feeds of selected Big South games. Wren, along with Mychal Frost, did color commentary and play-by-play during the match.