Columbus State Selected as Peach Belt Favorite

AUGUSTA, GA -- The Columbus State Cougars, winners of the last three PBC women's soccer championships, have once again been selected as the league's favorite in a preseason poll of the league's head coaches. The Cougars received seven of eight possible first-place votes to outdistance Armstrong Atlantic State in second place and GCSU in third. Lander, Clayton State, UNC Pembroke, North Georgia, USC Aiken and Georgia Southwestern rounded out the voting.

Columbus State brings a 19-game conference winning streak into the 2008 season and have not lost a PBC game since 2005. The Lady Cougars return seven starters from last season's 20-3-2 team that reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Among the returners are All-Conference standouts Monica Sanchez in goal, Sarah Hawkins in the defense and 2007 PBC Freshman of the Year Stephanie Parrish at forward. The Cougars did lose four All-Conference players to graduation, but have five seniors on the 2008 roster.

Armstrong Atlantic State reached the championship game of the PBC Tournament for the second straight year and have come in second in the conference standings both times. The Pirates lost only three starters from last season's 14-5-1 team and return two-time All-Conference forward Kristin Burton, who led the PBC in scoring with 23 goals in 2007.

Georgia College & State University welcomes in new coach Juan Pablo Favero who inherits a team that brings back eight starters from last season's team including All-Conference players Hayley Ferrell, Morgan Cobb and Jamie Nevin. The Bobcats are coming off their most successful season in the brief five-year history of the program after advancing to the PBC Tournament semifinals for the first time ever and finishing with a 13-5 overall record.

The 2008 coaches' poll is listed below. Coaches were not allowed to rank their own teams. The 2008 women's soccer season begins on Aug. 28 with Peach Belt Conference play beginning Sept. 17 and continuing on to the PBC Tournament which begins on Nov. 4.

School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Total

1. Columbus State 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 63

2. Armstrong Atlantic 1 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 56

3. GCSU 1 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 52

4. Lander 0 0 2 2 1 3 0 0 35

5. Clayton State 0 0 0 5 1 1 1 0 34

6. UNC Pembroke 0 0 1 2 3 0 2 0 32

7. North Georgia 0 0 0 0 4 4 0 0 28

8. USC Aiken 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1 16

9. Ga. Southwestern 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 8

Story contributed by the Peach Belt Conference