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Concord, Wheeling Jesuit Favored in WVIAC Women's Soccer Race

Image of the women's NCAA soccer logo.PRINCETON, WV July 20, 2007 Defending regular season champion Concord is the overall favorite to claim the 2007 WVIAC women's soccer championship. The Mountain Lions received five of the ten first place votes from league head coaches, while 2006 conference tournament winner Wheeling Jesuit garnered four votes. Upstart Charleston received the other first place nod.

Wheeling Jesuit was a unanimous choice to earn the Northern Division championship as the league divides into a pair of divisions for the first time during regular season play in 2007. Concord is picked atop the South with nine first place votes. Charleston also received one first place ballot and is in the second position in the South.

WVIAC newcomers Seton Hill and Pitt Johnstown hold down the second and third spots in the Northern Division coaches' poll, followed by Shepherd and Salem International. West Virginia Wesleyan, Davis & Elkins, and Ohio Valley round out the predicted order of finish in the Southern Division.

Defender Megan Davies, the 2006 co-WVIAC Player of the Year, helps key a sturdy Concord (11-10, 7-0) defense that only allowed a pair of goals in seven regular season league matches last season. Junior Sarah Coehlo was a first team All-WVIAC pick in goal. Veterans Laura Ciccone and Jenny Cleland key the midfield for head coach Steve Barrett's side.

Eight returning starters are on hand at Wheeling Jesuit (13-6, 5-2). Senior forward Katie Groff led the Cards with 13 goals last season. Lindsay Getz added seven goals and as many assists in 2006. Senior Amanda Lyons heads up the defense. Lauren Lewicki, a first team 2005 All-WVIAC selection in goal, returns following a redshirt season last year.

Charleston (10-8-1, 5-2) surged into contention last season with a tie for second place in the final WVIAC regular season standings. Senior defender Andrea Cooper hopes to lead the Golden Eagles to back-to-back winning campaigns. Sophomores Whitney Sharp (G) and Sharon Lapinsky (F) look to pair with a talented crop of rookies.

Seton Hill (12-4-2) should make an immediate impact on the WVIAC standings. The Griffins will play a full league schedule and their contests will count in the conference race, but SHU will not officially be able to win the WVIAC title until becoming a full NCAA Division II member in 2008-09. Nicole Pergar (16 goals in '06) and Alisha Moulton (11 goals, 7 assists) provide veteran head coach John Fogle with a dangerous offensive duo. Goalkeeper Sam Gilarski led the WVIAC with a 0.79 goals against average in 2006.

West Virginia Wesleyan (8-8-1, 5-2) returned to their accustomed position near the top of the WVIAC standings last season after a rough 2005 season. Sophomores Ashley Rees (D, 4 goals) and Jill Morrison (F, 9 goals) earned first team all-conference accolades in 2006. Junior Katie Schubert tallied a team-high 11 goals for Glenn Francis' club last season.

Pitt Johnstown (12-3-1) will compete for their first WVIAC championship in 2007. The Lady Cats hope to contend behind a talented sophomore class. Forward Alicia Zack topped all league players in points (53) and goals (22) as a rookie. Chrissy Burnsworth had a WVIAC-high 12 assists, while Lindsay Plowman booted in eight goals of her own.

Eight returning starters should help provide an improved record at Shepherd (8-12, 2-5). Junior forward Jennifer Corkran ranked among the conference's best with 17 goals and eight assists last year. Defender Brandie DeWitt and goalkeeper Amy Bell hope to shore up the Ram defense.

Senior midfielder Danielle Anderson and junior defender Emilie Humes, a pair of second team All-WVIAC picks in 2006, are the top returnees at Davis & Elkins (5-14, 3-4).

Salem International (4-13, 1-6) and Ohio Valley (0-13, 0-7) each welcome new head coaches this season. Former Slippery Rock standout Sarah Arsenault takes the reins at SIU, while Brianne Lodato is in charge at OVU.

The top three eligible squads in each division will qualify for the WVIAC post-season. The highest remaining seed will host the championship contest on Sunday, November 4.

2007 WVIAC Women's Soccer Coaches' Poll
Northern Division:
1. Wheeling Jesuit (10) 50
2. Seton Hill 35
3. Pitt Johnstown 29
4. Shepherd 24
5. Salem International 12

Southern Division:
1. Concord (9) 48
2. Charleston (1) 36
3. West Virginia Wesleyan 35
4. Davis & Elkins 20
5. Ohio Valley 12

Overall Champion:
Concord 5
Wheeling Jesuit 4
Charleston 1

NOTE: Seton Hill is not eligible for the 2007 WVIAC women's soccer title. However, all SHU contests will count in the league standings. The Griffins will become eligible for the conference championship upon becoming full NCAA Division II members.

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