(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) – The USA South Athletic Conference's women's soccer coaches have released their 2017 preseason polls. Each divisional preseason poll only includes votes from coaches within that particular division-only. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting. This is the first season that the Conference will once again split into divisions in the sport of women's soccer as the Conference welcomes new League members Berea College, Brevard College and Pfeiffer University. Brevard and Pfeiffer will not be included in the polls as they are each reclassifying from Division II and are not eligible championship honors this season.
Atop the USA South East Division poll were both Meredith College, led by 16-year head coach Paul Smith, and Salem College, led by 12-year head coach Jay Callahan. The Avenging Angels are the defending East Division champions, capturing a regular season League title for the third consecutive year. Meredith fell in the semifinals of the USA South tournament and concluded 2016 with a 12-6-0 overall record. The Spirits are moving into the East Division after one season in the West Division where they captured the program's first USA South divisional championship. Salem concluded its season as USA South Tournament Runners-up with an overall record of 18-2-1. Meredith and Salem each received 44 total points in the preseason poll while the Avenging Angels grabbed four first place votes and the Spirits collected three first place votes. Placing third with 38 points and the final first place vote was Methodist University. Ferrum College followed in fourth place with 29 points as N.C. Wesleyan ranked fifth with 27 points. Rounding out the poll were Averett University (19 points), Greensboro College (16 points) and William Peace University (seven points).
The women's soccer regular season gets underway on Friday, September 1st as 12 teams take on non-League opposition.
The 2017 USA South Women's Soccer Tournament will once again be conducted exclusively on campus sites. The top-six seeded teams from each division will advance to the tournament.