ROCK HILL, S.C.—Tusculum University has been chosen to finish fifth in the South Atlantic Conference for the 2019 women's soccer season, according to polling of the league's 11 head coaches which was released on Wednesday.
Junior defender Kenzie Ellenburg was the lone Pioneer to garner preseason All-Conference recognition as she was a second-team selection by the conference's media relations offices.
Tusculum finished 8-7-3 overall last season and was sixth in the SAC with a 5-3-2 league record, including wins over three of the four teams ahead of them in the 2019 preseason poll. The Pioneers beat both defending regular-season champion Carson-Newman and tournament champion Lincoln Memorial on the road last year during the regular season.
Ellenburg was named honorable mention All-SAC last season after starting all 18 matches on defense for the Pioneers. The Mosheim, Tennessee native and graduate of Greeneville High School collected her first career goal in a win over 23rd-ranked Nova Southeastern in last year's season opener, and played every second in 11 of the Pioneers' 18 matches. Ellenburg has started 31 games for the Pioneers over her first two seasons, with Tusculum recording eight shutouts in those matches.
Lincoln Memorial received seven of the 11 first-place votes from the coaches and took the top spot in the poll with 108 points. Carson-Newman had three first-place votes and placed second with 100 points, while Lenoir-Rhyne had the other first-place vote and 93 points in all to capture third. Catawba (82 points) was fourth, followed by Tusculum (66), Queens (63) and Wingate (59). Anderson (57 points) was eighth, with Newberry (37), Mars Hill (27) and Coker (19) rounding out the rankings.
Tusculum is on the road for its first nine matches of the season, starting on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Bellarmine. The Pioneers visit Lenoir-Rhyne for their league opener on Saturday, Sept. 21 and host Anderson on Sunday, Oct. 6 for their first game of the year at Pioneer Field.