NEW ORLEANS — After a trip to the Sun Belt Conference semifinals in 2014, Georgia Southern women’s soccer was picked to finish fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll, while GSU’s Nora El-Shami and Melinda Lukas were picked to the preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team.
The Eagles finished tied for third place last season with a 5-3-1 league record and an 11-6-2 overall mark, including nonconference wins over Indiana, North Carolina-Wilmington, Mercer and Francis Marion. Georgia Southern reached the semifinals of the Sun Belt Tournament with a win over Appalachian State in the first round of the postseason.
El-Shami and Lukas claimed All-Sun Belt honors a year ago. El-Shami scored seven goals with seven assists last season as a junior to pace the Eagle attack. Lukas had an outstanding sophomore campaign, scoring six goals including four game-winning goals.
Two preseason friendlies will give the Eagles a chance to play together before the season opener Friday, Aug. 21, against Jacksonville. The first friendly is set for Friday at The Citadel, with the second scheduled for Sunday against North Georgia.
South Alabama was picked to win the conference according to the league’s coaches, followed by Troy and Texas State in second and third, respectively. USA’s Charde Hannah was named the SBC preseason offensive player of the year, while teammate Nini Rabsatt-Smith was named the preseason defensive player of the year.