DECATUR—The Agnes Scott Women's Soccer program was picked sixth in the USA South West Division, as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon. The results of the preseason poll were determined by voting by the conference's head coaches.
For Agnes Scott Women's Soccer, 2017 was an embodiment of the overall trend in the department. Change was a key theme for the Scotties across much of the campus' six sports and soccer wore it as well as anyone as they transitioned to a new system under freshly tabbed head coach Eric Struble.
From a record standpoint, September could have been seen as a failure by an outside observer. But for those in the program, the losses did not reflect the growth seen regularly on the practice field as the season progressed into the cooler October temperatures. It was in October where six weeks of hard work and tough results finally saw a return on investment. The Scotties ended the regular season winning four of seven games, battling their way to a spot to the USA South postseason for the second consecutive year.
It's the spark in October that has the Scotties dreaming just a little bit bigger in year two under Struble.
A year of foundation-building isn't the only thing going right for the Scotties entering 2018. Agnes Scott only graduated one full-time starter, Erin Innis, and return nine players who started over 50 percent of the team's games a season ago. In addition, the coaching staff brought in seven new players who will be looking to make an instant impact both on the field and in the development of culture.
The Scotties return All-West Division forward Zoey Perchaluk (Fort Erie, Ont.) who led the team in all offensive categories during her junior year. Despite consistently seeing double teams as the lone player marked at the top of the field, Perchaluk was able to finish off seven goals and added six assists to her offensive tallies.
The defense is also a veteran-laden unit with four upperclassmen, including three seniors, making up the majority of the starters. The unit improved as they settled into new positions in 2017 and finished the year giving up fewer than two goals a game in conference action.
Games to Watch:
- September 1: The season opens with a long trip up to Lynchburg, Virginia to Coach Struble's alma mater, Randolph College.
- September 22: Agnes Scott opens conference play at home against Covenant. The Scotties and Scots battled to a tough 1-0 result in Covenant's favor toward the end of last season.
- October 9: A third matchup over the last two years. Huntingdon took both games from the Scotties last fall, including a fast-paced 2-1 win in the first round of the USA South tournament. Programs in similar places trending up in the conference will be wrestling for postseason seeding by October.
Preseason Poll Results:
T1. Maryville (5) – 60
T1. Piedmont (4) – 60
3. Covenant – 50
4. Brevard – 37
5. Huntingdon – 35
6. Agnes Scott – 32
7. Wesleyan – 18
8. Berea – 17
9. Lagrange – 15
September 1, 2018 at Randolph College, Noon