Bulletin Staff Report

Howard Payne sophomore forward Takenda Cotton was voted the American Southwest Conference womenís soccer preseason offensive player of the year, while the Lady Jackets were tabbed to finish seventh in the 14-team conference race, according to the preseason poll released Tuesday.

Cotton, a Brownwood product, earned ASC offensive player of the year honors as a freshman following a season in which she recorded a league-high 15 goals, including five game-winners, with 73 shots attempted. Cotton also tallied five assists.

Hardin-Simmons senior goalkeeper Christie Carr was selected as the preseason defensive player of the year, while the Cowgirls were picked to win their seventh ASC championship.

Howard Payne (10-9, 7-6 in ASC), which finished in a three-way tie for sixth place last season and just missed out on its first postseason berth due to a tiebreaker, received 227 points in the preseason poll.

The Lady Jacketsí point total trailed Hardin-Simmonsí (15-3-4, 12-0-1) 387 points, UT-Dallasí (14-4-3, 11-1-1) 358 points, UT-Tylerís (14-4-1, 10-3) 339 points, Mississippi Collegeís (17-4, 11-2) 311 points, Mary Hardin-Baylorís (10-8, 9-4) 262 points and Texas Lutheranís (9-10, 7-6) 236 points.

Rounding out the poll were East Texas Baptist (7-10, 7-6) in eighth place, trailed by Ozarks (8-11, 6-7), LeTourneau (6-13, 4-9), Concordia (4-12-2, 3-10), Schreiner (0-15-2, 0-11-2), Louisiana College (1-15-2, 1-11-1) and McMurry (0-15-1, 0-12-1).

The six-team ASC tournament is slated for Nov. 6-8 at the site of the regular season champion and an automatic berth into the NCAA playoffs will be on the line.

The Lady Jackets, who welcome Cisco Junior College for a 2 p.m. Thursday exhibition match, will open their regular season at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 when they host Milwaukee School of Engineering at Citizens National Bank Field.

HPUís first conference match is scheduled for Sept. 18 at Schreiner.