FOREST, Va. - The Randolph-Macon women's soccer team was voted seventh out of 13 teams in the preseason poll for the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, in voting by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office.
Defending champion Washington and Lee tied Lynchburg for the top spot in the poll with 138 points. The Generals picked up seven first-place votes, while the Hornets garnered six first-place votes. Virginia Wesleyan placed third with 120 points, followed by Bridgewater, Shenandoah, Roanoke, R-MC, Eastern Mennonite, Randolph, Guilford, Emory & Henry, Sweet Briar and Hollins. W&L, LC and VWU all earned bids to the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Yellow Jackets were 7-8-3 overall a season ago and 5-4-1 in ODAC play. R-MC returns seven starters, including sophomore midfielder Gabby Nelson (Clover, Va./Halifax County), who was All-ODAC Third Team in 2016. Nelson had six goals and 13 points as a freshman, the top marks for R-MC returning players.
Senior defender Courtney Taylor (Prince George, Va./Prince George) and junior forward Jenna Burns (Glen Allen, Va./Deep Run) are the leading returning Yellow Jackets in assists. Both had a pair a season ago.
Sophomore Christina Newman (Virginia Beach, Va./Kempsville) appeared in 15 matches in goal for R-MC in 2016 with seven starts. She recorded 45 saves with a save percentage of .849 and goals against average of 0.89 during her freshman season.
Under fourth-year head coach Jay Howell, Randolph-Macon will open the 2017 campaign on Friday, Sept. 1 at St. Mary's. The home opener will be on Monday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. against Dickinson.
2017 ODAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Washington and Lee University (7) 138 pts.
1. Lynchburg College (6) 138 pts.
3. Virginia Wesleyan University 120 pts.
4. Bridgewater College 105 pts.
5. Shenandoah University 103 pts.
6. Roanoke College 95 pts.
7. Randolph-Macon College 78 pts.
8. Eastern Mennonite University 61 pts.
9. Randolph College 53 pts.
10. Guilford College 50 pts.
11. Emory & Henry College 38 pts.
12. Sweet Briar College 20 pts.
13. Hollins University 15 pts.