UCA soccer player named ASUN Preseason All-Conference

ATLANTA, Ga. — With the 2023 soccer season right around the corner, the ASUN has released its Preseason All-Conference Team and Coaches Poll, the league announced on Thursday. For the Bears, junior defender Gabby Thies was named to the conference’s team, highlighting the impact that the returner should have on the pitch this season.

Thies, now in her third season with the Bears, saw a huge leap in minutes played from her freshman to sophomore year, logging a team-high 1,571 minutes of action last year. Her talent on the backline helped the team hold 11 opponents to one or fewer goals, with four clean sheets. This season, she leads a defense that looks to build off of last season’s semifinal appearance at the ASUN Championship.

“Gabby came into preseason camp fit and ready to go this season, as she’s done every year. We’re expecting great things from her this year, she’s definitely one of our leaders out on the field,” Head coach Jeremy Bishop said of Thies. “She does a great job on the defensive side of the ball, and also getting forward to give us wide options in the attack. She’s a box-to-box player, and I know she will bring that for us again this season.”

The Bears have made it to the semifinals of the ASUN Championship in each of the last two seasons, and look to make it a third-straight time in 2023. With nine new players on this season’s roster, the league’s coaches have voted Central Arkansas to finish sixth out of 12 teams. Of the teams voted higher, the Bears defeated Kennesaw State in the regular season and eliminated Lipscomb in the ASUN Championship quarterfinals.

Central Arkansas starts its regular season on the road, playing two games in the state of Texas before playing its home opener on August 24th against Missouri State at 5 p.m.

Unanimous Preseason Player of the Year: Kelli Beiler, Lipscomb

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Logan McFadden, Lipscomb

Preseason Midfielder of the Year: Shelby Craft, Lipscomb

Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year: Sofia Miliancano, North Florida

Preseason All-ASUN Team
Pos         Name                                        Class              School
GK           Sofia Miliancano                      Jr.                     North Florida
D              Gabby Thies                          Jr.                    Central Arkansas
D              Logan McFadden                    Sr.                    Lipscomb
D              Allyna Thurston                       Jr.                     North Florida
D              Zara Siassi*                            Sr.                    North Florida
MF           Nerea de Diego*                     Jr.                     EKU
MF           Ashley Labbe                          Jr.                     FGCU
MF           Alivia Carapazza                     Jr.                     Lipscomb
MF           Shelby Craft                            Sr.                    Lipscomb
F               Erika Zschuppe                      So.                   FGCU
F               Macie Rainwater                    Jr.                     Kennesaw State
F               Kelli Beiler                              Gr.                    Lipscomb
F               Alice Bussey*                         Sr.                    North Alabama
F               Chloe Washington*                Sr.                    Stetson
* – denotes an at-large selection to the preseason team
** a tie in voting resulted in a 14-person preseason team

Preseason Coaches Poll
Pl.   Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1.     Lipscomb (10) 142
2.     FGCU (1) 132
3.     North Florida (1) 107
4.     Kennesaw State 105
5.     EKU 96
6.    Central Arkansas 88
7.     Jacksonville 59
8.     Stetson 52
T9.   Austin Peay 40
T9.   Queens 40
11.   Bellarmine 38
12.   North Alabama 37