Midwestern State is ticketed to finish third in the annual Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll, selected by the league's coaches, sports information directors and selected media and released Wednesday afternoon.
"We have a lot of work in front of us, but we're excited to start the process," MSU coach Damian Clarke said. "We have a lot of maturity in the group with a dedicated bunch of seniors to go along with an exciting group of underclassmen. Familiarity with what the coaching staff is asking of the program will be a key for us."
Courtney Burnette garnered preseason Goalkeeper of the Year honors after delivering a breakout campaign in 2014. The sophomore from Irving led the LSC, making 5.63 saves per game last season while ranking 22nd in NCAA Division II with 107 total saves.
Burnette was named Goalkeeper of the Year last season, playing all 1,818 minutes in goal for MSU and allowing 17 goals for a 0.84 goals against average. She ranked 26th nationally with a .863 save percentage. She trained and competed with the Fort Worth Panthers of the Women's Premiere Soccer League (WPSL) over the summer.
"Courtney was able to get some key experience over the summer. She made a big jump in play last year and has continued to grow as a soccer player," Clarke said. "The goalkeeper position is such a key spot to have experience and leadership. Courtney will provide that."
Angelo State senior and Wichita Falls High School graduate Sierra Anderson, who finished with an LSC-high 15 goals in 2014, was tabbed preseason offensive player of the year and teammate Ashley Exford, a junior from Fort Worth, earned top defensive honors.
Angelo State tops the poll, taking eight first-place votes for a total of 82 points to edge out defending champion Texas A&M-Commerce as the Lions claimed seven first-place nods for a total of 80 points.
Midwestern State notched 48 points for third while Eastern New Mexico (44), West Texas A&M (32) and Texas Woman's (29) rounded out the poll.
The Mustangs return eight starters off of last season's 8-6-5 squad which finished fourth in the LSC with a 3-5-2 mark.
LSC Freshman of the Year Destinee Williamson, who scored nine goals and dished out four assists last season, is the top returning producer.
Senior Ashley Cottrell, the 2013 LSC Offensive Player of the Year, fought through injury to score three goals in 14 starts in 2014. The Mansfield Summit High product boasts 21 career goals.
Senior Morgan Hannon, a two-time first-team All-LSC performer, joins junior Lizzie Navarette to lend stability in the midfield, while Burnette joins the solid core of senior Alex Edwards and juniors Haley Britton and Katie Huff on the defensive end for the Mustangs.
Midwestern State opens the 2015 campaign playing host to Fort Lewis (Colo.) on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. at the MSU Soccer Field before taking on Colorado Mesa on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 1 p.m.