IRVING, Texas - Baylor soccer was chosen fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll, the league announced Wednesday. Voted on by the league's coaches, BU has been picked to finish in the top four in three straight seasons.
The Bears were picked third in each of the last two preseason polls to tie for the program's highest-ever preseason league ranking. This year, BU received 40 points in the poll that is headed by West Virginia (64 points), Texas Tech (56) and Oklahoma State (49). Behind the Bears are Texas (39), Kansas (25), TCU (21), Iowa State (16) and Oklahoma (14).
Coming off their first Big 12 Championship title in 2012, the Bears finished 11-6-3 in the 2013 season and just missed making the NCAA Tournament after qualifying for the previous two. A third straight NCAA postseason appearance would have been a program first. With 10 or more wins in each of the last four seasons for the first time since 2000, BU returns 16 players from the 2013 roster and welcomes seven newcomers for 2014. Among the returnees are 2013 first-team All-Big 12 junior forward Bri Campos and Kloss, who ranked second in the NCAA in 2013 goals against average (0.65) and third in save percentage (.817).
In the first of two exhibition matches for Baylor, the Bears topped Sam Houston State 1-0 last night in Waco as Alexa Wilde scored the lone goal. Prior to opening the 2014 season on Aug. 22 at home vs. Rice at 7 p.m. CT, the Bears will face Florida in Gainesville on Saturday for their final exhibition match. The Gators ended 2013 ranked No. 10 in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll with a 19-5-1 record, and are ranked No. 8 in the 2014 NSCAA preseason poll.
2014 BIG 12 SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
1. West Virginia (64 points, 8 first place votes)*
2. Texas Tech (56 points)
3. Oklahoma State (49 points, 1 first place vote)
4. Baylor (40 points)
5. Texas (39 points)
6. Kansas (25 points)
7. TCU (21 points)
8. Iowa State (16 points)
9. Oklahoma (14 points)
* Unanimous selection
Note: Coaches not allowed to vote for own team.