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The USC Upstate women’s soccer team was picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings as voted on by the league’s coaches, it was announced by the conference office Thursday.

USC Upstate enters the 2014 season coming off a 2013 campaign that saw the Spartans post the most victories in a single season during the Division I era. In addition, Upstate turned in five shutouts a season ago, which included a 1-0 victory over A-Sun Tournament champion and NCAA Women’s College Cup participant Jacksonville.

Guided by third-year head coach Abby Minihan, USC Upstate returns five starters from last season, including College Sports Madness Preseason All-A-Sun member Alexa Hone. A junior defender, Hone started all 18 games in 2013 and anchored a back line that was one of the strongest in the conference. Junior midfielder Kenzie Major returns as one of the top offensive threats for the Spartans, finishing last season with a team-high six points on two goals and two assists.

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