Thomasville, NC- The Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference head coaches have selected Belmont Abbey as the preseason favorite to capture the CVAC Conference Championship this fall. The Crusaders finished the 2004 campaign with a 10-9-1 overall record and captured the CVAC regular-season title with perfect 10-0 conference record. They were upset last year in the CVAC quarterfinals by Lees-McRae on penalty kicks.

                The Abbey team is now under the leadership of Glad Bugariu, who previously was the director of coaching for the Northern Soccer Club. Bugariu is the former women’s national team coach for the U.S. Virgin Islands and head coach at Louisburg College and Methodist College.

                The Crusaders return 13 players off last years squad and have seven new faces on the roster for this season. All-CVAC and All-Region selection Lindsay Megill returns for her senior season along with Erin Kolb, last season’s leading scorer with 15 goals, who was also an All-CVAC 1st Team selection. Joining the team are Anan Wells, who will challenge for the starting keeper position, and Randy Colerette, who was a North Carolina East-West All-Star selection.


                After winning its first-ever CVAC Tournament Championship with a squad comprised of as many as eight freshmen in the starting lineup, Mount Olive will begin defense of its title with a predominantly sophomore and freshman lineup this season. The Trojans shattered virtually every school team and individual record last season and set an NCAA II women’s soccer record for the greatest one-season turnaround on their way to becoming only the 29th team in NCAA II history to record a 20-win season.

                Mount Olive led the nation in scoring offense last season and the Trojans bring back 20-goal scorer and 2nd Team All-CVAC selection Gina Dos Santos, a sophomore who scored two goals in last year’s CVAC Tournament Championship Game. Sophomore forward Emily Escolas scored 13 goals last season and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Sophomore 2nd-Team All-CVAC midfielders Heidi Philip (6th) and Kate Painter (15th) both ranked in the top 15 in the nation in assists per game.

                Defensively, the Trojans will be led by sophomore sweeper Caitlyn Wright, an All-Tournament selection, and sophomore April Jacobs, who was named to the All-CVAC First Team and became the Trojans’ first-ever women’s soccer All-Region selection.


                The Pfeiffer University Lady Falcons placed third in the poll as Coach Chad Miller will have eight starters returning from last years squad that went 13-5-2 and finished second in the CVAC at 9-1-1. Highlighting the returnees are junior defender captain Marilyn Ries (1st Team All-CVAC), junior midfielder Maria Reis (2nd Team All CVAC) and junior keeper Jen Lindow (CVAC Honorable Mention). Coach Chad Miller states, "I am looking forward to this fall.  With the talent we have returning combined with 12 newcomers; we have a chance to do some great things in 2005."

                Rounding out the poll 4-12 was: Queens, Barton, Limestone, Erskine, Lees-McRae, Anderson, St. Andrews, Coker, and Converse respectively.


CVAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)                                                

  1. Belmont Abbey                                  (5)           113                                         
  2. Mount Olive                                        (5)           109
  3. Pfeiffer                                                  (1)           101
  4. Queens                                                  (1)            89
  5. Barton                                                                     77                           
  6. Limestone                                                               74
  7. Erskine                                                                     53
  8. Lees-McRae                                                            44
  9. Anderson                                                                 42
  10. St. Andrews                                                             35
  11. Coker                                                                         32
  12. Converse                                                                  23