The Cumberland women’s soccer team was selected second in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Tuesday by the league office.
The Bulldogs set numerous school records last season, including most victories after posting a 19-3-0 overall mark. The club also won the Mid-South Conference Tournament and reached the Round of 16 in the NAIA National Tournament after an opening-round victory at Martin Methodist.
Cumberland scored 91 total goals as a team, which was the top mark in the NAIA, and averaged 4.14 goals per match, which ranked second in the country. The club also handed out 65 assists, fourth most in the nation, and ranked fourth nationally with 13 shutouts.
Taylor Nay tied for the national lead with 18 assists while ranking third in assists per game (0.82). Keeper Lindsay Kitson tied for fifth nationally in goals-against-average (0.52), racking up 18 victories in net and making 78 saves. The Edmonton, Alberta, native recorded 13 saves against Lindsey Wilson in the conference tournament championship match and added 15 saves in CU’s 1-0 loss versus Concordia in the second round of the NAIA Championships.
Kitson and Kelsey Langille were named second and third team All-Americans, the first-ever All-Americans in program history, and Gavin McKinney was named Mid-South Conference Co-Coach of the Year. Langille, Kitson, Nay, Shauna Gilpin, Reneé LaRose and Mackenzie Keele were all voted First Team All-Mid-South Conference and Rhianne Parsons and Simone Quinn both earned Second Team accolades. Langille was named Mid-South Conference Player of the Week three times and garnered NAIA National Player of the Week accolades twice.
Five student-athletes – Beth Morgan, Kaitlin Phillips, Michelle Ward, Stephanie Twardowski and Quinn – were named Mid-South Conference Scholar-Athletes, and Quinn and Ward also earned NAIA Daktronics Scholar-Athlete honors.
The Bulldogs return eight starters and 12 letterwinners from last season, including Kitson and Nay as well as Gilpin and Parsons, the second and third-leading scorers in 2012.
Lindsey Wilson received nine first-place votes for first place and Cumberland was second, picking up the other first-place vote. Campbellsville posted 62 points for third place, with Georgetown College in fourth and Bluefield College fifth.
St. Catharine College, Shawnee State, the University of the Cumberlands, Rio Grande and Pikeville rounded out the poll.
The Bulldogs will open the season Aug. 28 at Tennessee Wesleyan and have a five-match homestand beginning Sept.1 against Brenau.
Men's picked fifth by league coaches
Cumberland was picked fifth in the Mid-South Conference men’s docker coaches’ preseason poll announced Tuesday by the league office, with the Bulldogs in a tight group of teams ranked 3-5 in the poll.
First-year head coach Kyle Smith returns six starters and 14 letterwinners from last season’s squad that finished 7-10-1 overall under Jeff Loucks. The squad got off to a rough start before a 6-2-1 stretch in October and early November, tying for fourth in the regular season.
CU defeated Campbellsville, 2-1, in the quarterfinals of the Mid-South Championships and dropped a wild, 5-4 decision to top-ranked Lindsey Wilson in the semifinals.
Lindsey Wilson received nine first-place votes for first place and Rio Grande was second, picking up the other first-place vote. Campbellsville posted 60 points for third place, with the University of the Cumberlands next with 56 points followed by Cumberland with 55 points.
Shawnee State, Bluefield, Georgetown College, St. Catharine and Pikeville rounded out the poll.
The Bulldogs will open the season Aug. 28 at Tennessee Wesleyan and start the home schedule on Sept. 5 versus Union University.