MORGANTOWN—The West Virginia University women’s soccer team will open up the 2017 season as the preseason No. 1 team in the nation. This is the first time in program history that they have been the top ranked team heading into a new season.
Last season the Mountaineers held the No. 1 spot during the regular season for over eight weeks and ended the season qualifying for the NCAA College Cup and a No. 2 ranking nationally.
Last season’s NCAA champion, USC, comes into this season as the preseason No. 3 just ahead of the Cardinals from Stanford.
South Carolina comes in at No. 4 followed by Georgetown at No. 5. WVU opens its season against No.5 Georgetown on August 18 at Shaw Field in Washington, D.C. The game is set to begin at 4 pm.
To round out the top ten we see UNC at No. 6, Florida ranks No. 7, BYU at No. 8, UCLA at No. 9 and Auburn ranked 10th.
This season the Mountaineers will face four teams ranked in the top 20. The teams include Georgetown (5th), Virginia (11th), Duke (12th) and Oklahoma (16th).
The Mountaineers will return 15 letter-winners from last year’s Big 12 conference championship team that recorded 23 wins and 18 shutouts. WVU also returns nine starters from last year team including 2016 NSCAA All-America second team honoree Michaela Abam. The forward led the Mountaineers with a single-season high 33 points last season which ranked 24th nationally.
The Mountaineers open their exhibition preseason games today as they travel to Michigan to face the Wolverines at 1 pm. They will return home on August 12 to take on Bowling Green at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Fist kick is set to begin at 1 pm.