Photo by Luke Zayas/True To The Cru
RICHARDSON, Texas- After claiming the first ASC Tournament title in program history, the UMHB women’s soccer team enters the 2023 season as the favorite to win the conference championship, per the ASC’s Preseason Poll, which was released Thursday.
UMHB earned 11 first-place votes and 153 points, barely edging out longtime ASC power Hardin-Simmons. HSU picked up 148 points with six first-place votes, coming in No. 2 in the poll.
The Crusaders reached the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history last fall, taking down HSU, 1-0, in the ASC title game in Belton. UMHB went 8-0-1 in ASC play in 2022, with a 17-1-1 record overall.
UMHB and HSU enter the year as the clear frontrunners, with Concordia and UT-Dallas finishing in the third and fourth spots in the poll. McMurry, who picked up the final first-place vote, came in fifth, followed by ETBU and Howard Payne. LeTourneau and Ozarks rounded out the poll in the eighth and ninth spots.
Sul Ross State will play an ASC schedule in 2023, but due to the Lobos transitioning to NCAA D-II next year, SRSU will not count towards the conference standings. As a result, the Lobos were not included in the preseason poll.
ASC Preseason Poll (First place votes in parentheses)
- UMHB (10)–153 points
- Hardin-Simmons (6)–148 points
- Concordia–113 points
- UT-Dallas–106 points
- McMurry (1)–92 points
- ETBU–75 points
- Howard Payne–47 points
- LeTourneau–39 points
- Ozarks–37 points
In another very notable piece of news, UMHB’s Maren Fields earned the ASC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honor. A First-Team All-ASC selection in 2022, Fields anchored UMHB’s backline last season, and played 1,327 minutes.
Joining Fields on the “Players To Watch” list was Kelsey White and Mackenzie Worthy, who enter their senior years. White enters 2023 after receiving an All-Region honor from the United Soccer Coaches last fall, scoring three goals with three assists as a midfielder. Worthy, a forward for The Cru, had seven goals and two assists last season.
UMHB’s season begins in Duluth, Minnesota, where the Crusaders battle UW-Whitewater and St. Scholastica on Sept. 1 and Sept. 3, respectively. The Cru is ranked No. 25 by the United Soccer Coaches .