Lady Toppers picked to finish eighth in C-USA, Chua named to all-preseason team

WKU midfielder Hannah Chua (2) moves the ball downfield as Memphis University defender Olivia Gauthier (16) challenges her during the second half of the Lady Toppers’ 2-1 win Friday night at the WKU Soccer Complex. Chua scored from outside the box late in the match to give the Lady Tops the win. Gabriel Scarlett/HERALD

John Reecer

In a vote by the league’s coaches, the WKU Lady Topper soccer team was tabbed to finish eighth in the conference, matching its finish from 2015 as announced Tuesday afternoon by the league office.

The University of North Texas, the reigning Conference-USA champion, was selected to repeat as title winners, while Rice University and Florida Atlantic University rounded out the top three.

“Our players have a great attitude and feel confident and strong about the upcoming season. What I love about preseason polls is the motivation that it can give your team,” Head Coach Jason Neidell said in a WKU Athletics press release. “What ultimately matters to us is where we actually finish the season, and we are excited to take the field and compete.”

The league office also announced that junior midfielder Hannah Chua has also been selected to the 2016 Preseason All-C-USA first team.

Chua, a native of Claremont, Calif., was a Second Team All-C-USA selection following her breakout sophomore campaign in 2015 that saw her score five goals and tally 11 points, both the second-best marks among Lady Toppers.

Of Chua’s five goals, two were match-winners, including a double-overtime golden goal against Mercer and a late goal against Memphis that secured the program’s first victory over the Tigers.

“We are excited for Hannah,” Neidell said in a WKU Athletics press release. “She had a breakout sophomore season and she, along with an incredible midfield cast, should be fun to watch in their attacking roles this season.”

The Lady Toppers are set to open their 2016 season with an exhibition against Northern Kentucky on Friday, Aug. 12, at 6:00 p.m. at the WKU Soccer Complex.

WKU will kick off the regular season with its first three matches on the road before returning home against Austin Peay at 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 2.