This Week in Pac-10 Women's Soccer

Aug. 19, 2008

8/19 Women's Soccer Release


Fri., Aug. 22ARIZONA STATE at Northern Arizona 	7 p.m. PTPortland State at OREGON STATE 	        7 p.m. PTNo. 1 USC at No. 25 San Diego 	        7:30 p.m. PTWASHINGTON STATE at Montana 	        5 p.m. MT

Sat., Aug. 23OREGON at No. 6 Portland 7 p.m. PT

Sun., Aug. 24Cal Poly San Luis Obispo at ARIZONA 7 p.m. MTNo. 17 CALIFORNIA at San Jose State 1 p.m. PTPacific at No. 10 STANFORD 1 p.m. PT

Tues., Aug. 26UC Santa Barbara at No. 2 UCLA 7 p.m. PT

Thurs., Aug. 28WASHINGTON at Montana 5 p.m. MT

Fri., Aug. 29ARIZONA at Utah 7:30 p.m. MTARIZONA STATE at Pepperdine 3 p.m. PTCal State Fullerton at No. 17 CALIFORNIA (1) 4:30 p.m. PTUtah State at OREGON 7 p.m. PTOREGON STATE vs. No. 14 Boston College (3) 4 p.m. PTNavy at No. 10 STANFORD 7 p.m. PTWASHINGTON STATE vs. James Madison (2) 7:30 p.m. ET

Key(1) - Cal Invitational; Berkeley, Calif.(2) - JMU/Comfort Inn Invitational; Harrisonburg, Va.(3) - at Palo Alto, Calif.

Five-time defending Pac-10 Champion UCLA tabbed as team No. 2
Defending National Champion USC tabbed as team No. 3

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.-- Just six points separate the top three teams in the coaches' preseason poll, but the STANFORD Cardinal have been tabbed as the favorite to win the 2008 Pac-10 women's soccer title in a vote by the Conference coaches. This marks the first time since 2003 that a team other than UCLA has been picked to win the Pac-10 championship, as the Cardinal were also the favorite in that same season.

Stanford, which tallied 76 points and six first-place votes, is coming off a campaign in which it finished tied for third in the Pac-10 with 18 points from a 5-1-3 Conference record (15-3-5, overall). The Cardinal advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, blowing out Sacramento State, 7-0, and defeating CALIFORNIA, 1-1 (7-6), along the way.

Five-time defending Pac-10 champion UCLA picked up 73 points and three first-place votes to take second place in the preseason poll. The Bruins, who went undefeated at 9-0-0 in the Conference last season, advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the fifth straight time.

As impressive as UCLA and Stanford were last season, the Cinderella story was the USC Trojans who finished second in the Pac-10 at 6-2-1, earning a record-breaking 20-3-2 overall mark to claim the Pac-10 and USC's first-ever women's soccer national championship. The Women of Troy have been tabbed as the third team in the Conference, racking up 70 points and one first-place vote.

California finished fourth in the poll, garnering 57 points, while ARIZONA STATE and WASHINGTON STATE both earned 44 points for a tie for fifth place. OREGON finished with 29 points, followed by WASHINGTON, which came in eighth with 25 points. ARIZONA (21) and OREGON STATE (11) rounded out the poll.

Following are the results of the preseason coaches' poll. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams (points 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first place votes in parentheses):

2008 Pac-10 Women's Soccer Preseason Poll1. 	Stanford (6)	   762.	UCLA (3)	   733. 	USC (1)	           704. 	California	   575. 	Arizona State	   44	Washington State   447.	Oregon	           298. 	Washington	   259.	Arizona	           2110.	Oregon State	   11


Arizona, which went 6-13-1 last year, will look to its experienced roster for success in the upcoming season. The Wildcats return 24 sophomores, juniors and seniors, including 13 upperclassmen, to a squad which last season had 19 freshmen. Arizona will use its skilled line-up this season, featuring SO MF Jacqueline Zinke who was named to the Pac-10's All-Freshman Team last season, to make a push for the Wildcat's first post-season appearance in three years.

With 10 freshmen making up almost half of Arizona State's roster, second-year head coach Kevin Boyd is in the midst of building a strong ASU program. JR GK Briana Silvestri returns with a year of playing experience under her belt. Silvestri ranked fourth in the Pac-10 last season, shutting out opponents six times and currently ranks first in ASU single-season history, having allowed just .85 goals per game in 2007.

The Golden Bears kick off the season with one of the most highly touted recruiting classes in the country. Second-year head coach Neil McGuire's incoming class is ranked fourth in the nation and No. 1 overall in the west region according to Soccer Buzz. California lost one of the nation's top defenders in two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection Courtney Hooker. It will be up to Cal's 16 returners and 10 newcomers to make up for Hooker's absence.

The Ducks retain their top-three players in point production for the 2008 season. JR MF Teresa Bowns, SR MF Allison Newton and JR D Danielle Sweeney all return to the line-up, having combined for a collective 31 points last season. The trio's offensive output accounted for over a third of Oregon's total points.

With 13 underclassmen comprising over half of the Beavers' roster and only six starters returning, Oregon State boasts one of the youngest teams in the Pac-10. One goal shy of contributing 50 percent of Oregon State's offense last season, four-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection Jodie Taylor's departure leaves room for another player to help match the forward's output. JR MF/F Najma Homidi leads all returning scores with four goals and nine points.

With two-time All-Pac-10 first team selection F Kelley O'Hara returning for her junior season, Stanford is the team to beat in the Pac-10. O'Hara led the Cardinal last season with 23 points and tied for sixth in the Pac-10. SO F Christen Press, who put up equally impressive numbers with 21 points, also returns, giving Stanford depth in its scoring attack.

The reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year F Lauren Cheney returns for her junior campaign. Cheney led the Pac-10 in six categories in 2007, including points (57) and game winning goals (9). Cheney also led the Conference in total goals scored for the second straight year. Additionally, head coach Jillian Ellis signed seven freshmen to UCLA's incoming 2008 class, ranked fifth nationally by Soccer Buzz.

Last year's national champion, the Women of Troy are picked as preseason favorites in the first NSCAA/adidas rankings. USC returns last season's Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the NCAA Tournament, JR GK Kristin Olsen. Olsen shut out Florida State in the championship game to help USC secure the title. Also returning to the squad is current U.S. Olympian F Amy Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a senior who contributed 10 goals last season, is currently competing in Beijing as a member of the U.S. National Team.

In the off season, Washington signed five newcomers including two-time Washington State Player of the Year, Katie Deines. After losing top offensive player Shuree Hyatt (six goals and 14 points), the Huskies can look to Deines as a source of goal production. Dienes scored 22 goals her senior year and lead her school to three state titles.

Washington State graduated experienced starter Brynn Bemis from the goalkeeper's spot, but SO Lindsay Parlee saw action last season in one game in which she recorded two saves and shut out Idaho for a half. Another goalkeeper who could challenge Parlee for the starting spot could be FR Stephanie Phillips.

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