BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU soccer team has been picked to finish third in the Sun Belt Conference league standings in 2012, according to a vote of the league's head coaches. In addition, senior defender Ali Stahlke and junior midfielder Chrissy Tchoula were named Preseason All-Conference team selections. The announcements were made Thursday by the league offices.
"We think we are a contender," said head coach Jason Neidell. "We will put our best team out on the field and we will get better every game. We talk about how it's where we finish, not where we start."
It is the fourth time in five years that WKU has been picked to finish in the top three in the league standings by the league coaches.
WKU was one of four league teams to place multiple players on the All-Conference squad.
"It is a very well deserved award for those two," said Neidell. "Chrissy is going to be a mainstay in the midfield and a playmaker for us. Ali really pulls us together in the back, both on the attacking and defensive side as far as her composure and what she brings to the field."
Stahlke, one of three captains on the squad, earned All-Conference honors a year ago and was also named to the All-Tournament team at the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in 2011.
WKU has placed 11 players on the league's preseason All-Conference team in the last four years, including Tchoula and Stahlke's selection in 2012.
Neidell's squads have enjoyed great success in recent seasons and are again expected to compete for the Sun Belt Conference title in 2012. Since 2007, the program's .706 winning percentage is the best among active Sun Belt Conference teams while their 37 wins during the same time period are the second most among active teams. The team has won at least 13 games in four of the last five seasons.
In 2011, the team was picked to finish just fifth in the league but instead reached the championship game of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament for the second time in four seasons.
The Lady Toppers begin the 2012 regular season on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 when WKU plays host to Evansville. Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m. at the WKU Soccer Complex.
Single game tickets are available through the WKU Ticket Office by calling 270-745-5222 or 1-800-5-BIG-RED. Tickets can also be ordered online at www.wkusports.com. In addition, a game ticket package with nine vouchers that can be used for any game during the 2012 season are available for just $25 through the ticket office.
For complete coverage of WKU Soccer, visit the official website of WKU Athletics at www.wkusports.com.