WINTER PARK, Fla. – The 2013 Sunshine State Conference regular season women’s soccer champs, Barry University, received the most first-place votes but was ranked second overall in the 2014 SSC pre-season poll.
The Rollins Tars, who won the SSC Tournament, narrowly received the nod as the favorite to win the 2014 SSC women’s soccer title.
The Tars received 60 points and four of the nine first-place votes, while the Bucs earned 59 points and collected the remaining five first-place votes to sit in the second position in a preseason poll conducted among the conference head women’s soccer coaches.
The Buccaneers captured the 2013 regular-season championship before falling to Rollins in the SSC tournament final in double overtime by a score of 3-2. Both teams, along with the Tampa Spartans and Florida Tech Panthers advanced to the NCAA South Regional in 2013. The Tars advanced to the regional final where they fell to West Florida.
Tampa, ranked No. 18 in the NSCAA preseason top-25, received 51 points to be placed third, where they finished the 2013 season. Saint Leo (39 points) and Florida Tech (38 points) rounded out the top-five. Concluding the poll was Florida Southern (30 points), Nova Southeastern (22 points), Lynn (15 points) and Eckerd (10 points), respectively.
Barry returns eight starters, including SSC Defensive Player of the Year and All-SSC First-Team member Becca Rogers. The goalkeeper is one of four returning seniors in the starting lineup for Barry. All five of the 2013 All-SSC honorees from the Buccaneers squad return for a chance at second-straight regular-season title under reigning SSC Coach of the Year Denise Brolly. Forward Lauren Manna, midfielder Lavinia Nkomo and defender Ashley Harlan are returning Firtst-Team members. Midfielder Tamara Vuckovic was named to the 2013 second team.
Rollins, ranked No. 14 in the NSCAA preseason top-25, returns 10 of 11 starters from a season ago, including all seven of its 2013 All-SSC honorees.
Saint Leo returns the reigning conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in Arielle Kabangu.
2014 SSC Preseason Women’s Soccer Poll
Rank – Team, Points (1st-place votes)
- Rollins, 60 (4)
- Barry, 59 (5)
- Tampa, 51
- Saint Leo, 39
- Florida Tech, 38
- Florida Southern, 30
- Nova Southeastern, 22
- Lynn, 15
- Eckerd, 10