Story by AMC Sports Information Director Scott Barker
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Columbia College Cougars have been selected as the Preseason favorites to win the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Women's Soccer regular-season, the conference announced on Thursday. The Cougars received 10 of the 11 possible first-place votes in route to 120 total points.
The final first-place vote went to 2016 AMC Women's Soccer Regular-Season Champion, Park University, who finished 10 points behind the Cougars.
No. 1 – Columbia College Cougars (10 first-place votes, 120 total points)
- Finished 2016 with an overall record of 19-2-3 and 11-1 in the AMC.
- The Cougars, who earned an automatic berth to the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship by winning the AMC Women's Soccer Conference Tournament, had a tremendous postseason run, which ended in a 3-0 loss to eventual National Champion Northwestern Ohio, in the Quarterfinals of the NAIA National Championship.
- Laurie Frew returns to the Cougars lineup after scoring 14 goals (second on the team) and dishing out 10 assists (third on the team). Frew was also named CoSIDA Academic All-District, CoSIDA Academic All-America First-Team, AMC All-Conference First-Team and the All-Region Team.
- Columbia will need to replace defender Taylor Hagenhoff, who was an AMC All-Conference First-Team member. She scored three goals and had five assists a year ago.
- Newcomer Sarah Taylor transfers to Columbia after spending that last two seasons at Johnson County Community College. Taylor scored nine goals, recorded nine assists and had 27 points. Of the nine goals, four of them were game-winning goals.
- Columbia's season get underway on Aug. 25, as they host Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The Cougars will then face off against Midland University (Neb.) the next day. Both games are a part of the 2017 Columbia College Women's Soccer Invitational.
- The first conference opponent for Columbia is on Sept. 12, as they play host to Lindenwood University-Belleville at 4:30 p.m.
No. 2 – Park University Pirates (one first-place vote, 110 points)
- The Pirates finished the season with a record of 13-5-1 and 11-1 in the AMC.
- Park is returning three key members that were selected on the AMC All-Conference list last season:
- Gabi Stevens was selected to the Honorable Mention list after scoring four goals for eight points.
- Emma Chatterton was selected to the First-Team All-Conference list after scoring 13 goals, nine assists and 35 points. All three categories were the second most on the team. Chatterton was also a 2016 NSCAA All-Midwest Region Second-Team.
- Isabel Sullivan was selected to the First-Team All-Conference list as a midfielder after scoring two goals and racking up a team-high 16 assists.
- The team will have to fill the shoes of three All-Conference players:
- Emily Key was a NSCAA All-Midwest Region First-Team and AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention. Key scored a team-high 32 goals, she added eight assists for a team-high 72 points. The AMC Player of the Year led the AMC in goals and points.
- Hannah Brindle was named to the 2016 AMC All-Conference team as a defender. She scored three goals this past season.
- Amanda Colville was named to the 2016 AMC Honorable Mention list. As a defender, Colville scored one goal.
- The Pirates get their 2017 season underway on Aug. 30 as they host Benedictine College.
- The first AMC contest for the Pirates is against St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Sept. 13th in St. Louis, Mo.
No. 3 – Missouri Baptist University Spartans (101 total points)
- The Spartans ended 2016 with a record of 12-7 (9-3 AMC)
- Missouri Baptist is returning 2016 AMC Newcomer of the Year, Cassandra Willhite. Willhite scored seven goals and added two assists for 16 points. The goals scored and points were the second most on the team.
- Haylee Eastridge is also returning to the pitch, a year after scoring four goals and one assist in six games.
- The Spartans return First-Team AMC All-Conference goalkeeper Alexandria Lair. Lair allowed less than one goal per game and made 64 saves in just over 1,600 minutes played.
- Missouri Baptist is losing a pair of key player this season.
- Morgan Mell scored three goals, two assists and eight points
- Alexis Turner scored two goals for four points and was named to the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention team.
- Nicole Talley is joining the team after being a First-Team All-Conference player in high school.
- The Spartans start the 2017 season at home vs. Siena Heights on Aug. 21.
- Missouri Baptist's first conference match is against Hannibal-LaGrange in Hannibal, Mo.
No. 4 – Lindenwood University-Belleville Lynx (91 points)
- Lindenwood-Belleville finished the 2016 season with a record of 10-7-2 (8-2-2) in the AMC.
- The Lynx will return star defender Victoria Price. Price played and started all 18 games for LU-B a year ago. She picked up one assist and was named to the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention list.
- The team will also return goalkeeper, Luisa Santillan, who made 34 saves in 850 minutes. Santillan was named to the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention list.
- Midfielder Jasmine Smith will look to continue her success from a 2016 season that saw her score four goals, add two assists and accumulate 10 points. She was second on the team in goals scored and total points.
- The Lynx lose a big time player in Raven Loughridge. Loughridge scored a team-high 12 goals and 26 points. In addition, she also added two assists. Loughridge was eighth in the AMC in goals scored 10th in points. Loughridge was named to the AMC All-Conference First-Team list.
- Lindenwood-Belleville opens its 2017 season at home, as they host Siena Heights University (Mich.) on Aug. 22.
- The Lynx's conference schedule gets started on Sept. 12 as they travel to Columbia, Mo. to take on Columbia College.
No. 5 – William Woods University Owls (84 points)
- The Owls finished the season 8-8-2 overall and 7-4-1 in the AMC.
- William Woods returns a trio of athletes that played a big role in the season last year.
- Becca Sturgess, AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention, accumulated six shutouts in goal for the Owls.
- Elyssa Cappaert was an AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2016, picked up three assists last season.
- Shelby Wiebe scored two goals and two assists last season and was named to the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention list last season.
- Kailyn Graham was a two-time All-Conference First-Team selection. She picked up two assists for the Owls.
- The Owls will square off against NAIA No. 4-ranked Benedictine College (Kan.) on Aug. 26 in Atchison, Kan.
- The first AMC game for William Woods is on Sept. 12, as they travel to Columbia, Mo. to take on Stephens College.
No. 6 – Lyon College Scots (72 points)
- The Scots finished last season with a record of 5-11-1 (5-6-1).
- Jessica Souza returns to the pitch for the Scots, after scoring 14 goals and recording 29 points. The 14 goals were tied for the most on the team. Souza was named to the AMC All-Conference First-Team last season.
- Joyce Barbosa is also returning for the Scots. Barbosa was tied with Souza for the team lead with 14 goals. Barbosa added two assist to accumulate a team-high 30 points.
- Lyon is losing two key members of its defense in Alisha Black and Jessica Lantrip.
- The Scots season gets underway on Aug. 26 as they travel to Elsah, Ill. to take on Principia College.
- The AMC schedule for Lyon gets started on Sept. 12th as they travel to St. Louis, Mo. to take on Harris-Stowe State University.
No. 7 – Williams Baptist College Eagles (64 points)
- The Eagles finished the season with a record of 6-8-2 and 5-5-2 in the AMC.
- Williams Baptist is returning Jasmine Espinoza, who was an AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention selection as a goalkeeper for the Eagles. Espinoza allowed just 43 goals in 1,497 minutes and made 130 saves.
- The Eagles are also returning AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention striker, Maria Ramirez. Ramirez scored a team-high seven goals and had two assists. She also picked up a team-high 16 points.
- Dora Lwamba is a key loss for the Eagles. She scored three goals and had six points a year ago. Lwamba was also a member of the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention team.
No. 8 – Harris-Stowe State University Hornets (57 points)
- The Hornets finished 2016 with a record of 8-10-1 overall and 5-6-1 in the AMC.
- Harris-Stowe State is returning Georgia Herrington, who scored four goals last season.
- Mia Tucker will play a key role for the Hornets, as in 2016 she scored three goals and one assist.
- Harris-Stowe State is losing Megan Wilson, who scored a team-high 14 goals and 30 points. She also added two assists.
- The Hornets are also losing Tais Barbosa, who picked up 11 points, which was second on the team.
- The 2017 season gets underway on Sept. 1st , as the Hornets host St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.
- Harris-Stowe State hosts Lyon College for its first AMC contest, on Sept. 12th.
No. 9 – Freed-Hardeman University Lions (54 points)
- The Lions finished 4-10-3 (4-6-2 AMC) a year ago.
- Freed-Hardeman will be led by Nina Carolissen who was an AMC All-Conference First-Team selection in 2016. Carolissen led the team with 11 goals. She also added two assists for 24 points, which was a team-high.
- Forward Abigail Morales will also play a key part in the Lions success, as in 2016 she scored three goals and added a team-high five assists for 11 points. Morales was an AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention player last year.
- The Lions will lose a pair of All-Conference performers this season. Kennedi Van Ravestein and Taylor Jenkins scored two goals each and Jenkins added two assists.
- The Lions are adding sophomore transfer Samantha Clymer to the pitch this season. Clymer transferred from NCAA-DI University of Tennessee-Martin, where she played in 16 of the 18 games.
- Freed-Hardeman will be in action on Aug. 28th for its season opener. The Lions are on the road taking on Georgetown College.
- The first conference matchup for FHU is on Sept. 12th as they host Williams Baptist College.
No. 10 – Hannibal-LaGrange University Trojans (42 points)
- Hannibal-LaGrange finished last season with a record of 6-8-4 (4-5-3 AMC).
- The Trojans welcome back defender Stephanie Venvertloh, who helped anchor down the Trojans defense that had seven shutouts a year ago. She also scored one goal and picked up one assist.
- The team will count on that same production from Venvertloh, with the departure of defender Ashley Collier, who was named to the AMC All-Conference First-Team last season.
- The Trojans get their 2017 campaign underway on Aug. 23rd as they will travel to Lincoln, Ill. to take on Lincoln Christian University.
- Hannibal-LaGrange will meet Missouri Baptist on Sept. 13th at home, as this will serve as the Trojans Conference opener.
No. 11 – Central Baptist College Mustangs (30 points)
- Finished 2016 with a 2-15 (2-10 AMC) record
- The Mustangs return their leading goal scorer in Kady Johnson (SO/Greenbrier, Ark.). Johnson scored nine goals and tallied 19 points a year ago and was voted to the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention list.
- Defender Danielle Hightower (SR/Arlington, Texas) also returns to CBC's back line. Hightower was the anchor of the Mustangs defense and was an AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention selection.
- The will have to replace two-year starter, Autumn Jones (JR/Conway, AR), who has started 14 games for the Mustangs.
- Central Baptist welcomes Freshmen Goalkeeper, Sara Calzada (FR/Arlington, Texas), from Kennedale High School in Arlington, Texas. Calzada is expected to help the Mustangs defense improve from a year ago.
- Central Baptist's first game is on Aug. 25th as they travel to Arkadelphia, Ark. to take on Ouachita Baptist.
- The first AMC contest for the Mustangs is on Sept. 16, as the Mustangs travel to Parkville, Mo. to take on Park University.
No. 12 – St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics (21 points)
- The Eutectics finished 2016 with a record of 2-13-1 overall and 0-11-1 in the AMC.
- Morgan Geissler is returning to the pitch after scoring a team-high three schools, one assist and a team-high seven points.
- St. Louis Pharmacy is also returning Michaela Drouin. The defender was the anchor of the Eutectics defense.
- The Eutectics are losing AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention player, Rachel Marchi. Marchi picked up an assist last season.
- St. Louis Pharmacy starts its season off on Aug. 26th as they take on Blackburn College.
- The first Eutectics AMC contest is vs. Park University in St. Louis, Mo.
No. 13 – Stephens College Stars (12 total points)
- The Stars finished the 2016 season with a 2-14-1 overall record and a 0-11-1 record in the AMC.
- Stephens returns Maeghan Ely who was named to the 2016 AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention team as a goalkeeper. Ely made 149 saves in 1,505 minutes.
- Allie Wilson is another key returner, as the AMC All-Conference Honorable Mention midfielder scored five goals, had two assists and accumulated 12 points.
- The team will miss Martha Noelker who led the team in goals (8) and points (18).
- The Stars season gets underway on Aug. 24, as the Stars host Doane University.
- The AMC schedule for Stephens starts on Sept. 12, as they host William Woods University.
2017 AMC Women's Soccer Conference Championship
- The AMC receives two automatic berths to the NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship.
- The Regular-Season champion and the highest conference tournament finisher that is not the first automatic qualifier receive the two berths.
- The tournament takes place on: Quarterfinals – Nov. 3, Semifinals – Nov. 6 and Championship – Nov. 9. The games are hosted by the highest seed that is involved in each game.
- The eight-team single-elimination bracket is determined by the final standings of the AMC women's soccer regular-season.
2017 AMC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (1st-place Votes)
St. Louis Pharmacy