Oklahoma has been picked third in the Big 12 Soccer Preseason Poll in a vote of conference coaches, the league announced Wednesday. This marks the highest preseason Big 12 ranking in program history for the Sooners, the previous best being fourth in 2002 and 2000.

 

Head coach Matt Potter enters his fifth season at the helm of the Oklahoma program this fall. He will lead a team onto the field that features 19 student-athletes who saw playing time in 2015, including 10 who started 10 or more contests. From a season ago, the 2016 Sooners return 90.6 percent of their goals scored, including all 10 of their game winning goals, 83.3 percent of their total points and 81.1 percent of their total shots taken.

 

West Virginia, which has won the Big 12 regular season title in all four seasons it has been in the conference, was picked as the unanimous selection to win the league. Texas Tech was selected second, while Baylor was chosen fourth. Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas were next at fifth, sixth and seventh, all within five points of Baylor. TCU and Iowa State rounded out the poll in the eighth and ninth spots.

 

OSU, meanwhile — according to a press release from the university's athletic department — is the preseason pick to finish fifth in the Big 12 Conference standings in 2016, it was announced today by the league office.

 

In a vote of the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to select their own team, four-time defending conference champion West Virginia was the unanimous choice as the Big 12 favorite. Following the Mountaineers are Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Baylor, which finished just one point ahead of the Cowgirls. Rounding out the nine-team list are Texas, Kansas, TCU and Iowa State.

 

OSU returns seven starters from last season’s 9-9-2 squad that finished eighth in the league with a 2-4-2 mark. Leading the way for head coach Colin Carmichael’s Cowgirls are All-Big 12 seniors Courtney Dike and Natalie Calhoun.

 

The Cowgirls will host Texas A&M in a preseason exhibition game Saturday at 7 p.m. before opening the regular season Aug. 19 at Georgia.