Special to HNN Provided by Herd Zone

IRVING, Texas – Marshall midfielder Kelly Culicerto (Charlotte, N.C.) has earned a spot on the 2015 Preseason All-Conference USA Women’s Soccer Team, the league announced Tuesday.

The annual list recognizes the conference’s top 12 players, including the Preseason Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. As a team, the Thundering Herd was picked fifth in the 14-team Preseason Poll as selected by C-USA coaches.

“Preseason accolades help add to the enthusiasm we all have for the upcoming season,” Herd coach Kevin Long said. “I am very proud that Kelly has made the preseason all-conference team. She has established herself as a very competitive player in the conference, and as a senior, I know she is looking continue pushing forward throughout her final year.”

Culicerto enters her senior season as one of the most prolific offensive threats in Herd history. She returns as Marshall’s leading scorer from 2014, scoring eight goals and contributing one assist for 17 points. She earned 2014 All-C-USA first team honors and was selected to the NSCAA Women’s All-Central Region second team.

The Herd is looking to build on a 7-7-5 season that ended in the 2014 C-USA Tournament first round at the hands of regular-season champion and No. 1 seed North Texas. Marshall’s 2015 schedule begins with an exhibition match at Virginia Tech on Saturday, Aug. 15, before regular-season play starts on Friday, Aug. 21, at Monmouth.

“The poll is flattering in placing us at fifth among some very good C-USA opponents,” Long said. “While this is the highest we have ever registered preseason, we know that it’s the end-of-season rankings that matter the most.”

Below is a complete list of C-USA preseason accolades:

2015 C-USA PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Lauren Hughes | Rice | Sr. | F | Ottawa, Canada

2015 C-USA PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jenny Fichera | Rice | Jr. | D | Ann Arbor, Mich.

2015 C-USA PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Martha Thomas | Charlotte | So. | F | Weston, Fla.
Marie Egan | FIU | Sr. | D | Littleton, Colo.
Claire Emslie | Florida Atlantic | Sr. | M | Penicuik, Scotland
Kathryn Sloan | Louisiana Tech | Jr. | F | Kansas City, Mo.
Kelly Culicerto | Marshall | Sr. | MF | Charlotte, N.C.
Rachel Holden | North Texas | Jr. | F | Lancaster, Texas
Jackie Kerestine | North Texas | Sr. | GK | Euless, Texas
Karla Pineda | North Texas | Sr. | MF | Houston, Texas
Jenny Fichera | Rice | Jr. | D | Ann Arbor, Mich.
Holly Hargreaves | Rice | Sr. | F | New Hope, Pa.
Lauren Hughes | Rice | Sr. | F | Ottawa, Canada
Aleah Davis | UTEP | Jr. | MF | Hewitt, Texas

2015 C-USA PRESEASON POLL
(as selected by C-USA coaches)
1. Rice
2. North Texas
3. Charlotte
4. UTEP
5. Marshall
6. FIU
7. Florida Atlantic
8. Middle Tennessee
9. Old Dominion
10. WKU
11. Louisiana Tech
12. UAB
13. UTSA
14. Southern Miss

For all the latest information about Marshall women’s soccer, follow @HerdWSoccer on Twitter.