NORCROSS, Ga. ---- The Auburn University at Montgomery women's soccer team has been projected to finish third in the Southern States Athletic Conference Preseason Soccer Poll. The Warhawks received 115 points in the poll, which is created by the coaches in the conference.
Ten-time defending conference champion (and four-time defending NAIA champion) Lee University received 143 points and all 11 first-place votes. Last season, the Flames became the first school in NAIA history to win four straight women's soccer national championships. The University of Mobile earned 131 points and is projected to finish second.
AUM finished 2011 with an 8-9-1 record. The Warhawks were 7-4-1 in the SSAC, however, which was good enough for fourth in the conference, and the team will look to improve their position in 2012.
Senior forward Margret Albertsdottir returns after leading the team in points last season with 19. She also led the team in assists (5) and finished in a tie for first in goals (7) while starting all 18 games. Senior forward Karina Suetsugu (5 G, 3 A in 15 starts) and junior forward Alexandra Sveinsdottir (5 G, 2 A in eight starts), will be additional important pieces for AUM on attack.
Head Coach Jamey Newsome will also hope that sophomore goalkeeper Holly Clarke can build on her outstanding debut season. Clarke appeared in 15 games (starting 11) and compiled a 7-4 record. Her 1.08 goals against average was the seventh best mark in school history, helping her earn a spot on the SSAC's All-Freshman team.
On defense, the Warhawks return three key performers in Inga Dis Juliusdottir, Melissa Ledesma and Kristin Karlsdottir. The trio combined for 50 starts last year and will look to continue to provide strong support for Clarke.
The SSAC releases a weekly updated poll once the season begins. The NAIA will release its Preseason Coaches' Top 25 on Aug. 14. AUM begins its 2012 season on Saturday, Aug. 25 at 12 p.m. with a home matchup against Bethel University.
2012 SSAC Women's Preseason Soccer Poll:
1. Lee (11) 143
2. Mobile 131
3. AUM 115
4. William Carey 100
5. Brenau 99
6. Faulkner 86
7. Spring Hill 69
8. Belhaven 62