Area women’s squads have high hopes

The Davis & Elkins women’s soccer team has been picked to finish second in the first preseason poll released by the GMAC coaches. The Senators will open the season at 1 p.m. today at Shepherd.

Coach Raul Ovalle says the team has been working diligently to get in top physical condition. He said the girls showed some signs of fatigue during the end of the teams scrimmage against Wheeling Jesuit.

“Overall, I think the team is headed in a good direction,” Ovalle said. “Our passing accuracy is definitely our strength. We have some inexperience on defense, especially in the middle of the field. However, we do have a lot of weapons on offense.”

The Senators are coming off an 11-4-2 campaign in 2012, including a 2-1 mark against teams currently competing in the GMAC. Sophomore Taylor Morton returns after leading D&E in goals (9) and assists (6), which earned her WVIAC Freshman of the Year honors a season ago.

Junior Emma Davis is also back after earning first-team All-WVIAC recognition in 2012.

Davis and team captain Alison Bogar each netted six points a season ago. Goalkeeper Ashley Winkelspecht also returns to the net after allowing only 12 goals in 17 games last year.

Alderson Broaddus University

PHILIPPI?- The Alderson Broaddus women’s soccer team was picked to finish third in its inaugural season as a member of the GMAC in a poll decided by conference coaches. AB will open its season Friday at Daemen College.

Head coach Patrick McGinnis said the team is filled with youth but does have solid veteran leadership. He said the young players are still learning to play at the college level and has shown inconsistency on the field during pre-season scrimmages.

“This team is one of the most talented freshmen classes I’ve ever brought in at AB,” McGinnis said. “This team is hungry, hungrier than last year, for a title. Complacency has not set in and these young women are fierce competitors.”

The Battlers lost many starters and pivotal role players to graduation following the 2012 campaign, a season which saw AB earn the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s final regular-season title.

West Virginia Wesleyan

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan has been picked to win the first-ever Mountain East Conference championship in women’s soccer in a vote conducted by the league’s coaches.

WVWC collected six of a possible eight first-place votes and finished with 62 points. Charleston, which grabbed the other two first-place votes, was picked as the runner-up with 50 points, followed by Concord (39) and Shepherd (34).

Coach Patrick Holguin said his team’s strength is its depth. He said the squad is filled with veteran players.

“Our strength is going to be the middle of the field,” coach Patrick Holguin said. “We have a lot of experience in the middle. It’s going to help us on both offense and defense. We have players who can take the ball away on defense and players who can attack the net on offense. I look for good results this season.”

Last year, the Bobcats posted a record of 12-6-3 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating seventh-ranked Gannon in the first round.

WVWC returns a tough defense led by goalkeeper Lauren Duncan, who recorded 57 saves and notched a 0.49 goals-against average while midfielder Jade Smith looks to pace the Bobcat offensive attack.