CLEVELAND, OHIO — The Hiram College women’s soccer team was picked to finish eighth overall in the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference preaseason coaches poll that was released on Wednesday (Aug. 24). [2011 NCAC Preseason Poll]
Hiram totaled 17 points to place eighth out of nine teams. Defending NCAC Tournament Champion Denison University was the preseason favorite with 68 points and six first-place votes. Allegheny (Pa.) College was second at 59 points to go along with one first-place vote and The College of Wooster rounded out the top three with 52 points and one first-place vote.
The Terriers will need to replace five impact players including the program’s all-time leading scorer three-time All-NCAC forward Claire Conner, four-time All-NCAC center back Madison Sepp, All-NCAC goalkeeper Emily Bristol, and four-year starters Kendra Dean and Melissa Sharpe. In 2010, Hiram ended the season with a 5-12-2 overall record and 1-6 in NCAC play. The season included five overtime matches in which Hiram came away with no victories and two draws.
The responsibility of replacing some of the lost attack falls to the experience of senior All-NCAC forward Caitlin Fortson (Ravenna) and junior Stephanie Takeuchi (Milton, Ontario/E.C. Drury). Takeuchi led all returning players in scoring in 2010 with five goals and one assist for 11 points while Fortson looks to regain her threatening efforts in her final season.
The 2011 schedule will feature 10 home matches for the Terriers with the first three scheduled to be played at the Hiram Soccer Complex. Hiram kicks off the 2011 campaign against Hilbert (N.Y) College in a non-conference matchup on Saturday, Sept. 3. The NCAC schedule begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 against conference newcomer DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.