RICHARDSON, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University was picked for last place in the six-team Lone Star Conference preseason soccer poll, but Zias junior Alyxandra “Xan” Ortiz has been chosen the Lone Star Conference women’s soccer preseason goalkeeper of the year.
Ortiz, from Rio Rancho, started eight games for the Zias in 2013, allowing an LSC-best seven goals with a .845 save percentage. She finished the year with three shutouts and a 4-2-3 record.
ENMU has both of its keepers back from last year in Ortiz and senior Fabienne Wilson of Alamogordo, first-year coach Omar Morales said, adding that both are in contention to start.
“She (Ortiz) played really well last year,” Morales said of Ortiz. “It’ll be a good competition between her and Fabienne.”
Other preseason awards went to Midwestern State’s Ashley Cottrell and West Texas A&M’s Rhea Belgrave, offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.
Defending co-champions Midwestern State and Angelo State were 1-2 in the six-team preseason poll, MSU earning six of 15 first-place votes and 80 points to the Rambelles’ seven first-place tallies and 72 points. Texas A&M-Commerce earned the other first-place votes despite finishing fourth in the poll, behind WT.
ENMU collected 24 points in the poll to finish three behind Texas Woman’s. The Zias went 4-8-5 last season, including 1-5-4 in the LSC.
The poll and awards were chosen in voting by league coaches and sports information directors, plus various media representatives.
“It is what it is,” Morales said. “Usually it’s based on (the previous) year’s performance. With me being new and with a new coaching staff, we’re looking at moving up.”
Morales played collegiately at West Texas A&M from 2002-05, then spent four years as a student assistant and grad assistant at the school before working in the men’s program there the past four years.
“We’re going to use (the poll) as motivation for the girls,” he said. “We’ll try to prove people wrong.”
The Zias start fall drills on Aug. 14. They have an exhibition match scheduled for Aug. 30 against University of the Southwest, and open the season on Sept. 4 against Western Colorado at Denver.
Team (1st-place votes) Pts
1. Midwestern State (6) 80
2. Angelo State (7) 72
3. West Texas A&M 61
4. Texas A&M-Commerce (2) 51
5. Texas Woman’s 27
6. Eastern New Mexico 24