Photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
The United Soccer Coaches national preseason polls have been released, and the UMHB women’s soccer team finds itself ranked No. 25 in the D-III Women’s Preseason Top 25 entering the 2023 campaign.
UMHB is coming off a 17-1-1 season in 2022 that saw the Crusaders defeat longtime rival Hardin-Simmons in the ASC title match. That 1-0 victory in Belton on Nov. 5 sent UMHB to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history, and gave The Cru its first ASC Tournament championship.
The Cru is one of two Texas programs that will enter the season nationally ranked, as Trinity (TX) was slotted at No. 9 in the preseason poll. The Tigers went 21-1-2 last season and will face UMHB in a highly-anticipated Sept. 25 non-conference match in San Antonio.
Trinity is UMHB’s only 2023 opponent listed in the Preseason Top 25, though Ohio Northern, who comes to Belton for a Sept. 9 duel, was listed in the “Also Receiving Votes” category of the poll. ONU was 14-2-5 last season, and reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
UMHB ended the regular season in 2022 ranked No. 13 in the nation, and has been included in USC’s Top 25 for the last 10 polls. Defending national champion Johns Hopkins is No. 1 to begin the 2023 season.
The Crusaders have not lost a conference match since Oct. 23, 2021, and hold a 15-2-3 record in ASC play over the last two seasons. UMHB begins its 2023 campaign with exhibitions against Angelina College, Jacksonville College, and Angelo State before the regular season opener on Sept. 1 against UW-Whitewater. The ASC opener is set for Sept. 28 against ETBU in Belton.