Jones, Howells tabbed to Preseason All-Sun Belt Team

Blue Raiders picked fourth in the poll

August 18, 2009 · Athletic Communications

NEW ORLEANS - Middle Tennessee's soccer student-athletes Shan Jones and Fran Howells were selected to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Team it was announced by the league office Tuesday. The Blue Raiders were picked to finish fourth in the 12-team league following a vote of the league's head coaches.

"I am certainly happy for both Jones and Howells, as they are both good players," Middle Tennessee head coach Aston Rhoden said. "Both are very much deserving of their recognition. We look forward to their contributions to the team this year."

Jones, a sophomore forward from Y Felinheli, Wales, is coming off a stellar rookie campaign in which she was honored as the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year. She netted a team-high 11 goals and added a pair of assists for a team-best 24 points. She was a First Team All-Sun Belt choice in 2008 and received mention on the Soccer Buzz Central Region All-Freshman Team.

Howells helps anchor a solid defensive unit for the Blue Raiders, which set school records last season for lowest goals-against average (1.00) and fewest goals allowed (21) during the season. The junior from Swansea, Wales, was voted Second Team All-Sun Belt a year ago, and is serving as one of the team's two co-captains.

Middle Tennessee earned 107 votes to place fourth in the preseason poll, trailing Denver (140), North Texas (130) and Western Kentucky (126).

The Blue Raiders will open regular-season action at 4 p.m. Friday when they travel to Cookeville, Tenn., to face Tennessee Tech. MT owns a 9-2 series lead over the Golden Eagles heading into the match.

2009 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team:
Shan Jones, MT, So., F
Mariah Johnston, DEN, Sr., F
Ashley Mannarino, FAU, Sr., F
Mallory Outerbridge, WKU, So., F
Lizzy Carlson, DEN, Jr., M
Kendall Juett, NT, Jr., M
Kelli Lunsford, NT, Sr., M
Fran Howells, MT, Jr., D
Jessie Rogers, DEN, Jr., D
Morgan Thomas, WKU, Jr., D
Rachel Friedman, WKU, Sr., D
Libby Stout, WKU, So., GK

Preseason Player of the Year:
Kendall Juett, NT, Jr., M

Preseason Poll (first-place votes in parenthesis):
1. Denver, 140 (8)
2. North Texas, 130 (2)
3. Western Kentucky, 126 (2)
4. Middle Tennessee, 107
5. Florida Atlantic, 91
6. FIU, 75
7. South Alabama, 67
8. UALR, 58
9. Louisiana, 53
10. Arkansas State, 33
11. Troy, 29
12. ULM, 27

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