From staff reports
The Cumberland women’s soccer team is ranked 13th nationally in the 2013 NAIA women’s soccer coaches’ preseason top 25 poll, the national office announced this week.
The Bulldogs finished the 2012 season ranked 14th in the nation.
Fourth-year head coach Gavin McKinney returns eight starters and 12 letterwinners from last season’s 19-3-0 club that won the Mid-South Conference Tournament and defeated Martin Methodist in the NAIA Championship Opening Round.
The Bulldogs set school records for victories and conference wins (8-1-0) last season while leading the NAIA in total goals (91) and ranking second in goals per game (4.14). The club also handed out 65 assists, fourth most in the nation, and ranked fourth nationally with 13 shutouts.
Sophomore Taylor Nay tied for the national lead with 18 assists while ranking third in assists per game (0.82). Junior 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.
Lindsey Wilson, the defending national champion, is the preseason No. 1 team. The Blue Raiders and Bulldogs are the only Mid-South Conference teams ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes. Cumberland will begin its season Aug.28 at Tennessee Wesleyan and will face three teams ranked in the preseason top 25, including Lindsey Wilson, 12th-ranked Martin Methodist (Oct. 11) and No. 22 Brenau (Sept. 1).