Birmingham, Ala. -- Florida was selected as the favorite to claim the 2012 Southeastern Conference women’s soccer title by the league’s 14 head coaches. This marks the 15th year that Florida has been tabbed by the coaches to win the title.
The Gators earned 10 first-place votes, topping Texas A&M’s four votes. Three of Florida’s top four goal scorers and point leaders from the 2011 campaign are back this season, including the top two scorers – Tymrak (12 goals, 8 assists, 32 points), Annie Speese (8g, 9a, 25 pts) and the No. 4 scorer Havana Solaun (6g, 6a, 18 pts).
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 August 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.
Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
SEC Champion: Florida (10), Texas A&M (4)
Florida (12) 90
South Carolina (2) 70
Texas A&M (12) 89
LSU (2) 74
Ole Miss 44
Mississippi State 23