Aug. 9, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The Southeastern Conference announced its 2012 Preseason Coaches' Poll on Thursday with Florida as the preseason favorite to win the league. SEC coaches picked Tennessee to finish sixth in the Eastern Division.
This marks the 15th year that Florida has been tabbed by the league's 14 head coaches to win the title.
Tennessee prepares to embark upon a new era of its program's history under the direction of new head coach Brian Pensky. UT brings back 17 returning players from a 2011 squad that went 15-7 with a top 16 seeding in the NCAA Tournament. The Lady Vols will open their season on Aug. 17 at home against Samford. Tennessee's SEC opener is Aug. 14 at home against Alabama.
UT's four players on the SEC Watch List include senior midfielder Kylie Bono (3 goals, seven assists, 17 points in 2011), senior midfielder/forward Caroline Brown (11 goals, eight assists, 30 points), sophomore goalkeeper Julie Eckel (15-7 record, 105 saves, 0.94 GAA, .833 save percentage) and senior midfielder Amy Harrison (three goals, one assist, seven points).
Brown was a second team All-SEC selection and a NSCAA All-South Region honoree in 2011 after compiling 11 goals and six game-winners. Eckel was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team after she led the league with an .833 save percentage.
Florida earned 10 first-place votes, topping Texas A&M's four votes. Three of the Gators top four goal scorers and point leaders from the 2011 campaign are back this season, including the top two scorers - Tymrak (12 goals, eight assists, 32 points), Annie Speese (eight goals, 9 assists, 25 points) and the No. 4 scorer Havana Solaun (six goals, 6 assists, 18 points).
The Gators were selected tops in the Eastern Division by garnering 90 total points (12 first-place votes). Georgia and South Carolina tied for second in the East with 70 points each. South Carolina returns six starters from a team that won its first SEC regular season championship with a 9-2-0 league record in 2011. Georgia returns nine starters from a team that posted a 13-7-2 mark (6-3-2 in SEC play) last season.
In the West, Texas A&M was first with 89 total points (12 first-place votes), just ahead of LSU's 74 points (two first-place votes). Texas A&M earned its 17th-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth in 2011, ending last season in the second round with a 16-6-2 record. LSU returns six starters from last year's team won the Western Division with an 8-3-0 record.
Points were compiled on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for each division, though each coach was not allowed to vote for their own team. Each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
The 20th season of women's soccer in the SEC season begins Aug. 17, with conference play set to begin September 14. The 2012 SEC Tournament is Oct. 29 - Nov. 4 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala.
|2012 SEC Preseason Coaches' Poll|
|(First-Place Votes in Parentheses)|
|South Carolina (2)||70|
|Texas A&M (12)||89|
|SEC Champion: Florida (10),Texas A&M (4)|