Western Kentucky University Soccer 2017
Allison Leone

Allison Leone, Nicole Roseland and Chandler Backes have each earned a spot on the Preseason All-C-USA Team, while WKU has been picked fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll as announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon.

The individual honors are the first preseason honors for each player, and WKU’s three selections are tied alongside Charlotte for the league high. All three Lady Toppers also earned postseason all-conference honors in 2016, as Roseland was named to the First Team, Leone to the Second Team and Backes to both the Third Team and All-Freshman Team.

Western Kentucky University Soccer 2017
Nicole Roseland

WKU’s fifth-place position in the C-USA preseason coaches’ poll is its highest since joining the conference prior to the 2014 season. Last season, the Lady Toppers were picked eighth and outperformed that preseason slot, posting a 12-6-1 overall record and notching a third-place finish in C-USA play. North Texas, with eight first-place votes, is picked to finish atop the conference.

One of the top goalkeepers in C-USA over the last three seasons, Leone returns for her senior season on The Hill sporting a 0.99 career goals against average and 22 career shutouts. Last season, the Kennesaw, Ga., native surrendered just 11 goals in 1,648 minutes of action between the posts while picking up nine solo shutouts. Leone currently holds second place in the WKU career record book for goals against average and shutouts and ranks third in minutes (5,165), wins (30) and saves (225).

A steady force at holding midfielder for the Lady Toppers, Roseland returns for her junior season after picking up First Team All-C-USA honors in 2016. Named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 26 last season, the Altamonte Springs, Fla., native helped to anchor a defensive side that gave up only 13 goals across 19 matches, the second-fewest in WKU history. Roseland has played in all 38 matches with 34 starts during her time with the Lady Toppers and will provide leadership for a defense that lost four significant starters from last season.

Western Kentucky University Soccer 2017
Chandler Backes

Backes enters her sophomore campaign coming off one of the finest offensive campaigns in program history during her first year on The Hill. As a freshman, she netted 10 goals, becoming one of only five players in school history to accomplish that feat in a single season. Backes tallied match-winners against Morehead State, Marshall and Southern Miss and had a trio of two-goal matches during the 2016 season; on Sept. 6, she became the first player in school history recognized with a spot on TopDrawerSoccer.com’s National Team of the Week following a three-goal week.

The Lady Toppers kick off their 2017 season with a pair of exhibition matches on the road this weekend, first traveling to Saint Louis on Friday evening at 7 p.m. (CT) before squaring off against Murray State on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (CT). WKU is set to open the 2017 regular season at 7 p.m. (CT) on Friday, Aug. 18, on the road at Lipscomb and will play its first home match of the season at 1 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, Aug. 27, against UT Martin.

2017 Preseason All-Conference USA Women’s Soccer Team
F Megan Greene, Charlotte
MF/D Riley Orr, Charlotte
MF/F Martha Thomas, Charlotte
D Nomvula Kgoale, Louisiana Tech
D Carissa Sanders, North Texas
D Jackie Stroud, Old Dominion
MF Samantha Chaiken, Rice
F Nia Stallings, Rice
F Chandler Backes, WKU
GK Allison Leone, WKU
MF Nicole Roseland, WKU

2017 C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
MF/F Martha Thomas, Charlotte

2017 C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
D Nomvula Kgoale, Louisiana Tech

2017 Preseason C-USA Coaches’ Poll
1. North Texas (8)
T2. Charlotte (5)
T2. Rice (1)
4. Florida Atlantic
5. WKU
6. Old Dominion
7. Louisiana Tech
9. Marshall
10. UTSA
11. Middle Tennessee
12. FIU
13. Southern Miss
14. UAB

– @WKUSports –

Currie P. McFayden
WKU Associate Director of Media Relations