HPU Women’s Soccer: Panthers Picked Second, Hank Honored by Big South

HIGH POINT, N.C. – After earning a regular season championship last season, the High Point University women’s soccer team has been picked to finish second in the Big South in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches. Additionally, redshirt senior goalkeeper Alex Hank was named the league’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

HPU is coming off a 13-6-2 campaign, including a 7-1-1 mark in conference play that led to the program’s first regular season title since 2012, and third overall, under head coach Marty Beall. The Panthers have played in the Big South championship game in two of the last three seasons.

“Our preseason ranking in the conference shows the respect that our players have earned from the coaches in our league,” Beall said. “Now it’s up to us to put in the work and become the best team we can become.”

Hank, a two-time Big South All-Conference performer, returns in net after earning second team honors a year ago. She was tabbed as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year following the 2015 season.

“Alex has been one of the top goalkeepers in the Big South for the past few years,” Beall said. “This recognition from the coaches in our conference is very deserving and we are all very happy for her.”

The Panthers bring back 24 letterwinners from a year ago, including 15 seniors that make up nearly half of the 32-member roster. In addition to Hank, 2016 first team All-Conference selections Becca Rolfe and Paige Lloyd return along with 2016 All-Freshman recipients Allie Reagan, Alex Denny, and Kyle Levesque.

Big South Preseason Poll Breakdown
Defending tournament champion Liberty (98 points) was selected as the preseason favorite, garnering eight of the 10 first place votes. The Panthers (92) earned the other two first place votes. Campbell (68), Radford (64), Longwood (62), and Gardner-Webb (56) were selected third through sixth, respectively, in a rather clustered middle of the pack.

The coaches tabbed UNC Asheville (44) seventh, followed by Charleston Southern (31), Winthrop (24), and Presbyterian College (11) to round out the poll.


RANK  TEAM                  POINTS (1st)
1.    Liberty               98 (8)
2.    High Point            92 (2)
3.    Campbell              68
4.    Radford               64
5.    Longwood              62
6.    Gardner-Webb          56
7.    UNC Asheville         44
8.    Charleston Southern   31
9.    Winthrop              24
10.   Presbyterian College  11

Jennifer Knoebel, Liberty

Alex Hank, High Point

The Panthers open their exhibition season on Aug. 8 at N.C. State. The season opener is Aug. 18 at Appalachian State with the homer opener scheduled for Aug. 25 against Ohio at 7 p.m.