Women’s soccer will start the season ranking fourth in the conference, according to a preseason poll of the league’s 14 head coaches released Wednesday.
GW received 145 votes and finished two spots ahead of local rival George Mason, who has defeated the Colonials in each of their last two meetings.
Sixth-year head coach Sarah Barnes’ team comes off an 11-7-3 overall record and a 4-3-3 conference slate, good for the No. 6 seed in the year-end conference tournament last year. Before the season, they were selected to finish second in the 2016 version of the poll.
The Colonials graduated nine seniors from last year’s squad, including its top scorer MacKenzie Cowley who netted more than 45 percent of the team’s goals.
For the ninth consecutive year, Dayton topped the preseason poll with nine of the 14 first place votes. The Flyers won the conference championship final last November with a 7–0 victory over Saint Joseph’s.
Two GW players were featured on the league’s preseason All-Conference team. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Miranda Horn was chosen for the third time after starting all 21 games for the Colonials and collecting nine shutouts last year. Junior midfielder Sofia Pavon was also named to the team after missing all of 2016 with an injury.
The Colonials were one of four teams with multiple players on the 11-player All-Conference team.
Women’s soccer opens its season on the road on Friday when they travel to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens at 7 p.m.
Atlantic 10 women’s soccer preseason poll
1. Dayton (9 first-place votes): 179
2. Saint Louis (4): 172
3. Saint Joseph’s (1): 164
4. George Washington: 145
5. Duquesne: 136
6. George Mason: 132
7. Fordham: 115
8. Richmond: 92
9. VCU: 90
10. La Salle: 88
11. Rhode Island: 59
12. Massachusetts: 48
13. Davidson: 31
14. St. Bonaventure: 19