CLEVELAND, OHIO — The Hiram College women’s soccer team was picked to finish seventh in the 2010 North Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll that was released today (Tuesday, Aug. 24). [2010 NCAC Preseason Poll]
Hiram totaled 15 points to place seventh of eight teams. Denison University was tabbed as the favorite with 63 points and seven first-place votes. Defending tournament champion Wittenberg University was second with 57 points and one first-place vote. Allegheny (Pa.) College rounded out the top three teams with 42 points.
“We had equal shares of elation and frustration last season,” said seventh-year Head Coach Bob Dean. “Our goal was simply to have a winning season and we fell short last year. The elation came from the way we played and the competition level that we demonstrated in virtually every match. This group of players rose to the occassion in just about every situation. There were some tremendously important and meaningful victories.”
The Hiram offensive attack will be led this season by senior two-time All-NCAC forward Claire Conner (Aurora). Last season, Conner started all 19 games and led the team in goals (10), points (24), shots (44), shot percentage (.227), shots on goals (27) and game winning goals (three). Her 10 goals ranked in a tie for second in the conference and her 24 points were third most in the NCAC. Conner has already had a standout playing career who currently owns or shares seven individual game, season and career records, including being the all-time career goals (26) and points (65) leader.
Hiram’s strenghth this season should be at the defender position led by two senior starters in three-time All-NCAC player Madison Sepp (Aliquippa, Pa./Hopewell) and Melissa Sharpe (Eastlake/ Willoughby South). Sepp started all 18 games she played in and scored one goal during the season. She helped anchor a defense that allowed 1.48 goals per game and had six shutout victories. Sharpe played in all 19 games and started 14. She made an impact offensively finishing fourth on the team in points with five after posting two goals and an assist.
At goalkeeper, Hiram will look to senior Emily Bristol (Worcester, N.Y./Worcester Central) as the main netminder. In 2009, Bristol finished the season with a 7-10-2 record, with two shutout wins, and a 1.59 goals against average. She saw playing time in all 19 games and started 18, while making a league-leading 80 saves with a 74.1 save percentage.
Hiram will open the 2010 season on Wednesday, Sept. 1 against John Carroll University at the Hiram Soccer Complex. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email at email@example.com.