VIRGINIA BEACH -- Two preseason women's soccer polls. Two very different preseason rankings for Virginia Wesleyan College's Marlins.
While VWC is ranked No. 25 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire Division poll, the Marlins are a lofty No. 8 in the BennettRankings.
Virginia Wesleyan finished 2012 with an 18-2-1 record and enters its 30th year of intercollegiate competition aiming for a 15th consecutive winning season. Under the guidance of head coach Jeff Bowers, who begins his 14th season with the Marlins, Virginia Wesleyan has averaged nearly 16 wins in the past 14 years. Bowers owns a 202-51-28 record, which ranks him 12 among all of NCAA Division III's winningest active coaches. He also ranks 13th among the division's all-time winningest coaches.
The Marlins graduated seven talented student-athletes from last year's team, including Jessica Edelman, a two-time All-American and Academic All-American. But, while there are some shoes to fill, the Marlins have a good start with a combined class of 13 seniors and juniors to lead the way. A solid group of sophomores will add to the mix, along with a large incoming class of newcomers.
Virginia Wesleyan opens the 2013 season with its own tournament, sponsored by the Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists. That event begins on Saturday, Aug. 31, and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 1. The Marlins will host North Carolina's Meredith College in the opener at 1 p.m. on Saturday and welcome in New York's Fredonia State University for a 2 p.m. start on Sunday. Christopher Newport University will also compete in the tournament.