AUGUSTA, Ga. -- After capturing the 2013 regular-season co-champion title and the PBC Tournament title, the Clayton State women's soccer team has been chosen as the favorite to win the 2014 PBC Championship as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Lakers received seven out of a possible 12 first-place votes and totaled 115 points in the poll. Collecting the other five first- place votes was 2013 regular season co-champions Columbus State. The Cougars were just three points out of first place in the poll with 112. Armstrong finished third in the poll with 101. North Georgia was fourth, Lander followed close behind in fifth.
Clayton State returns 12 players from last season's tournament and regular season championship team. The Lakers went 12-4-6 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 where they would eventually fall to conference rival Columbus State. Of the 12 returnees, the Lakers will rely on their leading scorer in sophomore Denisha Paskell, who was a 2013 all-PBC selection and all-Southeast Region award winner. Also returning for the Lakers is Senior Melissa Hetherington, who tied for third in the league last season with 11 goals and 26 points. Prior to 2013, the last time Clayton won a PBC Tournament title was in 2005 where they also tied as the regular season co-champions with Columbus State.
The Lakers open their 20th season on Thursday, Sept. 4 against region opponent Coker College in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Laker Field.
The 2014 coaches' poll is listed below. Teams were given 11 points for a first-place vote, 10 for a second-place vote and so on. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.