DENTON (8/21/06) The North Texas women’s soccer team has been picked as the favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference for a third straight year by the leagues coaches. Junior Heather Hutyra was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year as the Mean Green placed three players on the Preseason all-conference team.
Along with Hutyra, junior goalkeeper Kandice Ellis and sophomore Kelli Lunsford were named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team.
North Texas received eight of a possible 12 first place votes while Denver and league newcomer Florida Atlantic each received two first place votes.
Hutyra, the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, scored 20 goals last season and ranked seventh in the nation in goals and eighth in goals per game. Hutyra had 47 points on the year and that was good for eighth in the nation points per game. She was one of only eight players in the nation to score 20 goals last season.
Lunsford was the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year after notching seven goals and seven assists. Ellis was a 2005 first-team all-conference pick last year after posting seven shutouts in net. She also had a streak of 405 minutes without allowing a goal last season.
The Mean Green has won the past two Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles.
North Texas begins the regular season on Sunday, August 27 at Texas State. The Mean Green’s home opener is slated for Thursday, August 31 against Houston.
2006 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. North Texas (8) 139
2. Denver (2) 121
3. Florida Atlantic (2) 119
4. Middle Tennessee 118
5. South Alabama 90
6. Western Kentucky 84
7. Florida International 67
8. Louisiana-Lafayette 60
9. Arkansas State 43
10. Louisiana-Monroe 41
11. Troy 27
11. Arkansas-Little Rock 27
2006 Preseason All-Sun Belt Team
F-Lleane Grimditch, Denver
F- Rebecca Rodriguez, Middle Tennessee
F- Heather Hutyra, North Texas
MF- Susanna Lehtinen, Florida Atlantic
MF- Taryn Hemmings, Denver
MF- Kelli Lunsford, North Texas
MF- Kelly Tarrant, South Alabama
D- Janeke Simpkins, Florida Atlantic
D- Tiffanie Stewart, South Alabama
D- Jenna Silverberg, Western Kentucky
GK- Kandice Ellis, North Texas
Preseason Player of the Year
Heather Hutyra, Forward, North Texas