BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Following a vote of the league’s 11 head coaches, Frostburg State and Concord have been picked as preseason favorites in the 2023 Mountain East Conference Women’s Soccer divisional polls that were released on Thursday afternoon.
Frostburg State is picked to repeat as champion in the North Division afternoon finishing 2022 with a record of 18-2-2. FSU earned 46 points and six first-place votes during preseason balloting. The Bobcats are coming off a their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid and also finished as runner-up in last fall’s MEC Women’s Soccer Tournament. The Bobcats return an experienced roster this fall, including goalkeeper Ashley Bilger and forward Toni Fiocco-Mizer.
Fairmont State finished just one point behind Frostburg State in the preseason voting with 45 points and five first-place tallies. Fairmont State went 12-4-5 during the 2022 season and won the MEC Tournament Championship with three-consecutive shutout victories. The Falcons also earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament selection last fall. Fairmont State returns All-MEC standouts Kiera Kuzinski (F), Alejandro Puerto (F) and Emily Wallon (D) this season.
Notre Dame (32), Wheeling (22) and West Liberty (15) rounded out the north division poll.
In the south, Concord received 55 points and six first-place votes to be named preseason favorites. Concord finished second in the south a season ago with a record of 12-5-2. The Mountain Lions will be led by a trio of returning all-conference players this season, including midfielders Michelle Brogden and Reeanna Cook, and defender Olivia Bekeleski.
West Virginia State was voted second in the south division with 52 points and four first-place votes. The Yellow Jackets are the defending MEC South Division Champions after going 17-3-2 a season ago. WVSU earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional Tournament last fall and picked up a 3-2 victory over Bloomsburg in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Yellow Jackets will be tasked with replacing the production of Fran Soares-Cupertino, but All-MEC standouts Esther Dhiramo (F), Laura Galindo (GK), Maxima Bellscheidt (D) and Paula Herold (D) will return this season to give WVSU an experienced lineup.
Charleston was picked third in the south division with 44 points and the remaining first-place vote. Davis & Elkins (35), West Virginia Wesleyan (23) and Glenville State (16) rounded out the poll.
The women’s soccer season begins on Thursday, Aug. 31 with eight teams in non-conference action. Conference play begins on Sunday, Sept. 10.
|2023 MEC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Team (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Frostburg State (6)||46|
|2.||Fairmont State (5)||45|
|2.||West Virginia St. (4)||52|
|4.||Davis & Elkins||35|
|5.||West Virginia Wesleyan||23|
* Coaches not permitted to vote for own team