Desoto County Sports

Northwest women’s soccer notches another top five national ranking

Lady Rangers to open season this weekend

Credit: Northwest CC Sports Information

For only the second time in program history, the Northwest women’s soccer program will begin the regular season as a nationally-ranked squad.

Northwest checks in at No. 3 in the preseason NJCAA Division II rankings, which were released Monday afternoon. The ranking matches last year’s finish at the NJCAA Division II Championship in Tucson, where the Lady Rangers fell in the semifinals to eventual national champion Phoenix College.

Last season, the Lady Rangers were slotted at No. 13 to begin the 2022 season and only went up from there, finishing with a 15-2-3 overall record. Northwest fell just short of capturing its first NJCAA Region 23 championship, falling in penalty kicks to Holmes, but advanced to the national tournament for the first time in program history.

Northwest was joined by several MACCC programs in this year’s preseason rankings. Holmes topped the list of conference foes at No. 2 overall, followed closely by Jones College at No. 4. Reigning national champion Phoenix College tops the rankings at No. 1, with Pima Community College (Ariz.) checking in at No. 5.

Pearl River is the only other MACCC program ranked in the preseason poll at No. 11, while Copiah-Lincoln was unranked, but receiving votes.

This is the second preseason ranking for Northwest after earning a No. 4 preseason slot by the United Soccer Coaches poll, which was released late last month.

Northwest brings back a vast array of talent, including returning defenders Amaya Andrews, Raylin Dixon, Bre’Aunna Harps and Kaley Harden. Forwards Evie Crawford and Jadyn Duran also return, along with a slew of newcomers poised to make immediate impacts.

With one exhibition match in the books, Northwest will officially open the 2023 season this weekend in St. Louis, facing off against Jefferson College on Saturday, Aug. 19 and South Suburban College on Sunday, Aug. 20. The Lady Rangers’ home opener is slated for Sunday, Sept. 10 against Mineral Area College.

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