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Soccer: Sooners picked third in Big 12 Preseason Poll - Cowgirls picked sixth

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Oklahoma has been picked third in the Big 12 Soccer Preseason Poll in a vote of conference coaches, the league office announced Thursday.

This matches the highest preseason Big 12 ranking in program history for the Sooners, with the 2016 squad also claiming third.

Head coach Matt Potter enters his sixth season at the helm of the Oklahoma program this fall. He will lead a team that returns six starters and 14 letterwinners from last year’s group that finished tied for third in the Big 12 and earned a program-record 14 wins. OU brings back 2016 All-Big 12 selections Tori Bowman and Paige Welch along with All-Big 12 Freshman pick Kristina O’Donnell.

The Sooners are set to begin their 2017 slate with an exhibition match against BYU, a rematch of the 2016 NCAA second round, on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. CT at John Crain Field. Admission to the exhibition match is free.

OU's Bedlam rival, Oklahoma State, is picked to finish sixth in the league standings.

OSU returns eight starters from last year’s 9-9-3 team that finished tied for fifth in the league with a 3-4-1 record and lost in the opening round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship at Colorado. Five of the Cowgirls’ top six scorers from a year ago return this season.

The Cowgirls open 2017 with a preseason exhibition match at Missouri Saturday at 7 p.m. before kicking off the regular season with home matches against Loyola and UMKC on Aug. 18 and 20.

2017 BIG 12 SOCCER PRESEASON POLL

1. West Virginia (9)*

2. Kansas (1)

3. Oklahoma

4. Texas Tech

5. Baylor

6. Oklahoma State

7. TCU

8. Texas

9. Iowa State

10. Kansas State

* Unanimous selection

First place votes in (); coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team

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