Bulletin Staff Report

Following a 1-16 inaugural campaign, the Howard Payne Lady Jackets soccer team is projected to finish 12th in the 14-team American Southwest Conference, according to the ASC preseason poll released Monday.

The Lady Jackets, under second-year head coach Sam McCutchen, are slated to kick off the season Sept. 7 at Wayland Baptist in Plainview. Howard Payne will host Hill College in an exhibition game at 4 p.m. Friday at the new Citizens National Bank Field.

Returnees for the Lady Jackets — whose lone win came against ASC foe Concordia — include all-conference honorable mention defender Betsy Wade, a senior, along with senior midfielder Ashli McCutchen, junior midfielder Susanna Maxvill and sophomore midfielder Susana Chavarria, among others.

Howard Payne will open ASC action on Sept. 15 when Mary Hardin-Baylor visits in a 2 p.m. contest.

The Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls are predicted to win their fourth straight ASC women’s soccer championship after a vote of the league’s 14 head coaches and sports information directors.

HSU (18-1-5), which will also be looking for a fifth consecutive ASC Championship Tournament victory, picked up 25 of the possible 28 first-place votes in the annual poll and totaled 389 points.

The Cowgirls enter the season ranked No. 4 in the nation by D3kicks.com and No. 6 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

UT-Dallas was picked for a second-place finish with 248 points and two first-place votes. The Comets went 14-4-2 last season and took HSU to overtime in the ASC Championship Tournament.

The Comets are the last team other than HSU to win the conference title, doing so in 2002.

UT-Tyler, which becomes eligible for postseason play after serving as an NCAA provisional the last four seasons, was picked to finish third with 345 points. The Patriots picked up the remaining top-spot vote.