Lady Chants, Famili earn respect in preseason poll

Coastal Carolina senior Daniella Famili was voted the Sun Belt Preseason Women’s Soccer Player of the Year and the Chanticleers were picked to finish second in a vote of the league’s head coaches.

“Daniella had a great junior year and the coaches in the Sun Belt Conference recognized it,” said Paul Hogan, who enters his seventh season as CCU head coach. “Daniella is so good on the ball and she has excellent vision. It is our hope is that she can build off last season’s individual success.”

Coastal was picked second to defending champions South Alabama, but CCU was just one point behind in the Jaguars in the voting – 109 points to 108 – despite the Chants getting a league-best four first-place votes to USA’s three. Little Rock (106 points and three first-place votes) was picked third, followed by Appalachian State (84 points) and Louisiana (60 points and one first-place vote) to round out the top five.

“I was a little surprised to be picked second overall in the Sun Belt considering we lost seven seniors, five of whom started,” Hogan said. “I do think the preseason poll is a reflection of how we finished last year. We had a great run in 2016, but this team has to go out there and earn everything we get. We have a combined 21 freshmen and sophomores so we are going to be a young team.”

Coastal Carolina finished second last year in the league and reached the Sun Belt Tournament Championship. The Chanticleers started the season 2-3-1, but closed the year strong and posted a 12-6-3 record, including a 6-2-2 mark in league play.

Famili was voted the preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year as she is one of four returning players in the league that earned first team All-Conference last season. Famili additionally was the first Chanticleer to be named first team All-South by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and just the fourth Chant overall to be named all-region.

A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Famili ranked third in the Sun Belt with nine goals last season while her season total led the team and tied her school record for goals in a season. Her 21 points in 2016 also ranked third in the league. Four of her goals in 2016 were game-winners to rank second in the league.

In addition to being named first team All-Sun Belt in 2016, Famili was a first team All-Big South selection in 2015 and she was voted to the Big South All-Freshman team in 2014. She first set the CCU record for goals in a season with nine as a sophomore (2015) and enters her senior year with 21 career goals scored, which ranks fifth on the CCU all-time list.

Fans can get a preview of the 2017 Chanticleer women’s soccer team as Coastal Carolina hosts High Point in an exhibition this Friday (Aug. 11) at 7 pm. Admission is free.

2017 Sun Belt Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll (first-place votes in parentheses)
1. South Alabama (3) – 109 pts
2. Coastal Carolina (4) – 108 pts
3. Little Rock (3) – 106 pts
4. Appalachian State – 84 pts
5. Louisiana (1) – 60 pts
5. Troy – 60 pts
7. Texas State – 52 pts
8. ULM – 44 pts
9. Georgia State – 39 pts
10. Arkansas State – 36 pts
11. Georgia Southern – 28 pts

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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