BOCA RATON, Fla. - A pair of Florida Atlantic University women's soccer players have earned Conference USA Preseason All-Conference honors, C-USA announced today. Junior Claire Emslie and senior Olivia Mbala join nine other representatives from C-USA schools on the team, as voted on by the league coaches.
""I'm excited for Claire and Olivia to have received some preseason recognition by our conference coaches," said Patrick Baker, FAU head women's soccer coach.
FAU joins Charlotte and Rice as one of the three schools with multiple players on the All-Conference team. The Owls are scheduled to open FAU's 2014-15 athletic season with a Friday, Aug. 22 match at USF in Tampa. FAU's home opener is slated for Sunday, Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. against Stetson at the FAU Soccer Stadium, Boca Raton campus.
Emslie, FAU's leading scorer each of the last two seasons, has tallied 17 goals and 37 points in her 35 outings as an Owl. The Scotland native was named to the C-USA All-Conference Second Team following FAU's debut season in the league a year ago.
"Claire was a Second Team forward and is our most refined attacking player," Baker said. "She came on strong toward the end of the year and will have an improved supporting cast around her. Claire has had two strong seasons here, but I feel this upcoming year will be her best at FAU."
MBala, a native of Ontario, Canada, has racked up nearly 3,000 minutes on the pitch in her two seasons at FAU. As a senior, MBala will be key to Baker's back line, a defensive unit which allowed only seven goals in C-USA play in 2013. For her efforts, MBala was named All-Conference First Team following her junior campaign.
"Olivia is a returning First Team defender and was instrumental in leading our back line a year ago," Baker said. "She has improved her game through the off-season and should have a very strong senior season."
FAU finished sixth in the East Division last season and is selected to finish eighth overall out of 14 teams in this year's preseason poll.
"Being picked eighth is more than fair - especially when we didn't even make the Conference USA Tournament last year," Baker said. "We are excited to start our second season here and have a strong group returning, plus a number of new talented faces.
Our players took great pride in their defending and this year will be no different - but we must find ways to score goals."
The first 250 fans at the home opener against Stetson will receive women's soccer posters and children under the age of 12 can get a ticket for just $1 with an adult who purchases a ticket at regular price.