DENTON (8/23/2005) The North Texas women’s soccer team, coming off the 2004 Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championship, was tabbed as the 2005 preseason favorite by the league’s head coaches. The Mean Green received five of a possible 10 first place votes and topped the poll with 92 points.
North Texas finished ahead of Denver, who received three first place votes, while Middle Tennessee picked up the remaining two first place votes and was picked third.
North Texas sophomore forward Heather Hutyra, who was the 2004 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, was a preseason All-Sun Belt forward. Hutyra had six goals and 17 points last season.
Denver forward Lleane Grimditch was named the league preseason player of the year. The junior recorded 17 points in 2004 and had three game-winning goals.
Joining Grimditch on the preseason All-Sun Belt team, also voted on by the league coaches, were midfielders Jenna Billingsley and Laura Mann.
Rounding out the team included Middle Tennessee midfielder Claire Ward and defensemen Katy Rayburn and Sara Wohlhueter. FIU's Yaneash Donaldson was also named as a defensemen, along with Western Kentucky's Jenny Dalby. Arkansas-Little Rock senior Marsha Stewart was selected as the goalkeeper.
North Texas opens the 2005 season on Friday, August 26 with a match against Eastern Illinois in El Paso before facing UTEP the following day.
North Texas, the defending Sun Belt Champions, return seven starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that won a school-record 16 games last year.
SUN BELT CONFERENCE WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON COACHES POLL
1. North Texas (5) 92
2. Denver (3) 89
3. Middle Tennessee (2) 87
4. Florida International 64
5. Western Kentucky 56
6. South Alabama 51
7. Louisiana-Lafayette 42
8. Arkansas State 31
9. Arkansas-Little Rock 20
10. Troy 18
PRESEASON ALL-SUN BELT CONFERENCE WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM
F Lleane Grimditch Denver Jr.
F Heather Hutyra North Texas So.
F Janessa Taddei FIU Sr.
MF Jenna Billingsley Denver So.
MF Laura Mann Denver Jr.
MF Claire Ward Middle Tennessee Sr.
D Jenny Dalby Western Kentucky Sr.
D Yaneash Donaldson FIU Sr.
D Katy Rayburn Middle Tennessee Jr.
D Sara Wohlhueter Middle Tennessee Jr.
GK Marsha Stewart UALR Sr.
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lleane Grimditch, Denver