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Women's Soccer Tabbed A-Sun Favorite; Correllus Sweeps Preseason Awards
FORT MYERS, Fla. – A year removed from winning its first Atlantic Sun regular season crown, the FGCU women’s soccer team was tabbed as the favorite to repeat as conference champs in the preseason coaches’ poll released on Monday afternoon by the league office.
In a vote conducted by the conference’s 10 head coaches, the Eagles received six first place votes and were predicted to bring home the A-Sun Tournament championship in their first year of postseason eligibility. Despite going 8-0-2 in the A-Sun in 2010, FGCU was unable to participate in postseason play the last four years due to the NCAA reclassifying period.
Four different teams received a first place vote with Jacksonville (83) occupying the second spot followed closely by Mercer (80) and Kennesaw State (79). The top four teams were separated by just 17 points. Three A-Sun teams finished with double-digit wins in 2010, while had a .500 record or better.
“We’re really honored that the other league coaches voted for us to be atop the conference, but how we finish this season is where our minds need to be,” said head coach Jim Blankenship. “The A-Sun gets better and better each season so defending a conference title is extremely difficult, but a task that we’re really looking forward to.”
The first player in A-Sun history to be named Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year following the 2010 campaign, senior KC Correllus (Merritt Island, Fla./Satellite HS/Florida State) was tabbed the preseason winner in both categories. This year marked the first time the A-Sun has presented a preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Correllus was one of three unanimous choices to the All-Conference team and was joined by goalkeeper Stephanie Powers (Seffner, Fla./Armwood HS) and midfielder Olivia Elias (Coral Springs, Fla./American Heritage-Delray HS). FGCU’s trio of players on the preseason All-Conference team was the most by any team, while Jacksonville and Kennesaw State had two selections.
“KC, Stephanie and Olivia are all terrific players and very deserving of their honors,” said Blankenship. “They are the prime example of the type of student-athletes we want all of our kids to become. As much as they deserve these awards, they need to work twice as hard to maintain them and work toward our team goal.”
Correllus and Powers were critical members of an FGCU defense that posted a program record 11 shutouts and limited A-Sun opponents to just two goals in 2010. A NSCAA All-South Region first team choice, Correllus has earned conference postseason honors in each of her three seasons, including back-to-back first team honors. Correllus played the entire game 13 times last season, helping FGCU give up just nine goals over 17 games to finish as one of three teams in the country to give up less than 10 goals.
A two-time A-Sun All-Conference selection, Powers was named to the first team in 2010 after going 11-4-2 with a 0.53 goals against average that led the league and ranked ninth in the nation. Powers’ 55 saves resulted in a .857 save percentage, a figure that ranked 21st in the country. Her league-best nine shutouts were highlighted by a six-game streak that saw opponents fail to score a goal over 604 minutes.
Elias turned in a big junior campaign in which she was named to the A-Sun All-Conference first team and NSCAA All-South Region third team. The Coral Springs, Fla. product started all 17 games at center midfield, finishing second on the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists. Elias netted a pair of game-winners, including the goal that clinched the conference regular season title in the season finale against Stetson.
FGCU returns eight starters from the 2010 team and will open its season with a home exhibition match against USF on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 3 p.m.
2011 Women's Soccer Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team
|GK||Stephanie Powers (Sr.)||FGCU|
|D||* KC Correllus (Sr.)||FGCU|
|D||Gretchen Sutch (Sr.)||Belmont|
|D||Alexis Hermosa (Sr.)||Stetson|
|MF||* Olivia Tucker (Sr.)||Mercer|
|MF||Liz Fink (Sr.)||Jacksonville|
|MF||Jessica Hurtado (Sr.)||Jacksonville|
|MF/F||Olivia Elias (Sr.)||FGCU|
|F||* Lauren Hopfensperger (So.)||North Florida|
|F||Brittany Vining (Sr.)||Kennesaw State|
|F||Alyssa Mahan (Sr.)||Kennesaw State|
|* - Unanimous Selection|
|Preseason Player of the Year: KC Correllus, D, FGCU|
|Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: KC Correllus, D, FGCU|
2011 Atlantic Sun Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (First Place Votes)
|4.||Kennesaw State (2)||79|
|Tournament Champion: FGCU (6 Votes)|