The University of Oklahoma women’s soccer team was picked to finish in seventh place in the Big 12 Conference, according to a coaches poll released by the league office on Wednesday, August 18.
The Sooners, who return 16 letterwinners from last year’s 8-7-5 team, were slotted behind Texas A&M, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Missouri. Following Oklahoma in the poll were Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech. Coaches were not allowed to vote on their own team. Nebraska elected not to participate in the voting and since the coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team, the other 10 teams only received points from nine voting coaches. Nebraska was not included in the preseason poll.
Coached by sixth-year head coach Randy Evans, the Sooners will open their 2004 schedule with home games against Saint Louis and SMU on Aug. 27 and 29, respectively. In 2003, the Sooners were tabbed to finish sixth in the conference and took the No. 6 seed into the Big 12 Tournament before losing to Kansas. After making its third appearance in the Big 12 Tournament in school history, OU made its debut in the NCAA Tournament where they lost to the No. 7 ranked Tennessee Lady Vols, 1-0.
“The Big 12 is one of the better soccer conferences out there,” said Evans. “We proved that collectively last year when we sent eight teams to the NCAA postseason. Our goal is obviously to put together a strong enough season to be an at-large team, but ultimately we are striving for the automatic bid by winning the Big 12 Tournament.”
Junior captain Lauren MacIver headlines a talented group of Sooners that returns nine starters from the 2003 season. MacIver earned second-team All-Big 12 honors last season along with senior defender Erin Young. Evans also brings in one of his most talented freshmen class in 2004.
“This team, on paper, will probably be the most talented that I have fielded at OU,” added Evans. “It should be an exciting season when you combine the incoming freshmen with an already talented group from last season.”
BIG 12 PRESEASON COACHES POLL