Women’s college soccer begins this weekend throughout the Carolinas. Following is a preview of the 2015 season:
Players to watch
Garcelle Alequine, senior midfielder, Lenoir-Rhyne: Division II All-America in 2014, with 14 goals and 34 points.
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Katie Bowen, senior midfielder, North Carolina: Member of New Zealand's national team; preseason All-ACC; on Hermann Trophy watch list.
Vicky Bruce, senior midfielder, Davidson: A Cannon School product who is the team’s leading returning scorer.
Ashley Clark, senior forward, Campbell: Big South preseason Offensive Player of Year; leading active goal-scorer in conference.
Stephanie DeVita, senior midfielder, Furman: Two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year; her 50 career goals are 10 short of breaking conference record.
Katrin Guillou, senior forward, UNC Wilmington: Led team with eight goals and 18 points in 2014.
Savannah McCaskill, sophomore forward, South Carolina: The SEC Freshman of the Year in 2014, when she led the team with 15 points.
Toni Payne, junior midfielder, Duke: Three game-winning goals and 19 points last year.
Kaileen Sheridan, junior goalkeeper, Clemson: First-team All-ACC in 2014, allowing 0.56 goals a game.
Martha Thomas, sophomore forward, Charlotte: Second-team freshman All-America last season, with 11 goals and 28 points.
ACC: Florida State, the No. 1 team in the national coaches’ preseason poll, is the favorite. Virginia, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech are also highly ranked.
American Athletic: East Carolina is picked sixth, with Connecticut as the big favorite.
Atlantic 10: Davidson is picked 13th of the 14 teams, with Dayton and La Salle expected to finish at the top.
Big South: Liberty won the regular-season title last year and High Point took the tournament title. They, along with Coastal Carolina, are the top teams.
Colonial Athletic: Northeastern looks to defend its title. UNC Wilmington is a preseason fifth-place pick, with Elon and College of Charleston near the bottom.
Conference USA: Rice, North Texas and Charlotte are the top picks.
South Atlantic: Lenoir-Rhyne has won five straight titles but could get a challenge from Wingate.
SEC: Florida (No. 8 in coaches’ national preseason poll), South Carolina (11) and Kentucky (16) are top picks.
Southern: Samford won the regular-season title a year ago, but Furman will push for the crown.
Sun Belt: Appalachian State is picked sixth with South Alabama as the favorite.
Games to watch
Sept. 7, South Carolina at Charlotte: The 49ers take a shot at one of the SEC’s powerhouses.
Sept. 27, Duke at Virginia: The Blue Devils have the talent to join the ACC’s elite.
Oct. 8, Davidson at Dayton: The Wildcats test the A-10 preseason favorite.
Oct. 11, North Carolina at Florida State: Tar Heels get a shot at the nation’s No. 1 team.
Oct. 22, South Carolina at Florida: First place in the SEC could be at stake.
Oct. 24, Lenoir-Rhyne at Wingate: The area’s top Division II schools clash.
Carolinas Top 10
1. North Carolina
2. South Carolina
8. High Point
9. UNC Wilmington