This Week in Pac-10 Women's Soccer
Aug. 18, 2009
Sat., Aug. 22
Sun., Aug. 23
PAC-10 IN THE WEEKLY RANKINGS
This Week (preseason)
2009 Pac-10 Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Wildcats will be retooling in 2009 after losing six starters, but will be returning key players, including sophomore forward Renae Cuellar, who finished tied as the team leader in goals scored with five. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Devon Wharf will look to make her mark coming off a knee injury in 2008. Senior Analisa Marquez will also be a key veteran on the defensive line for the Wildcats. She also has the ability to turn around an be an offensive threat. Ten newcomers provide strength to the team, most notably freshman defender Karli Hedlund out of Edmonton, Canada.
In 2009, the Sun Devils have added 13 newcomers, while losing only five players from last year's team. Senior leadership will be found on the back line, which will be anchored by 2008 first team All-Pac-10 honoree Liz Harkin. In goal, the Sun Devils will have redshirt-senior Briana Silvestri who was a force in the net in 2008 coming up with 70 saves. The offensive attack for Arizona State will be led by sophomore Karin Vulpe who is coming off a strong freshman campaign. Vulpe led the team with nine goals and 20 points in 2008 and was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman squad.
The Golden Bears are coming off of the program's 23rd winning season in 2008 and will expect nothing but the same in 2009. The Bears lost six starters from the 2008 squad, but will still have the offensive fire power in junior Alex Morgan. Morgan led the team in goals with nine and also has U.S. National Team experience after playing with the U-20 team. Junior defender/midfielder Megan Jesolva has also played on the national level. Jesolva will be a key outside back for the Bears with the loss of strong defender Nkechi Kanu to graduation. The Bears will be a young team in 2009, with only three seniors, one of which is goalkeeper Gina Pellegrini who was the regular keeper in 2008 making 44 saves.
In 2009 the Ducks are returning four experienced seniors in midfielder/forward Teresa Bowns, midfielder/forward Adriana Montes, midfielder Dani Oster and defender Danielle Sweeney. Bowns, Oster and Sweeney have all played in 60 career matches for Oregon and Sweeney has started all 60 of those games. The Ducks are returning leading goal scorer junior forward Jen Stoltenberg who netted 10 goals and collected 25 points last season. On the defensive end, junior Mercedes Walters, who was a starter in midfield in 2008 will be seeing more time on the back line. Oregon will bring back goalkeeper Cody Miles, who was a Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection in 2008.
The Beavers will have an experienced group of returnees in 2009 and will look to build off this strength. In addition to 10 returning starters, they have a strong group of newcomers, including midfielder/forward Melinda Ingalls, a transfer from Division II Western Oregon University where she was named the team's Most Valuable Player. Senior midfielder Rachael Axon, a 2008 Honorable Mention All-Pac-10, started all 19 games last season and will be a strong anchor in the midfield for OSU. Leading scorer from a year ago, midfielder/forward Najma Homidi, who scored four goals last year, will return in 2009.
Stanford will be returning nine starters, including three players who have been named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list in senior forward Kelley O'Hara, sophomore midfielder Teresa Noyola and sophomore forward Lindsay Taylor. O'Hara will be a force for the Cardinal up front after netting 13 goals and adding 12 assists in 2008. Working with O'Hara up top will be Taylor, a 2008 NSCAA first team All-American who was tied as the leading goal scorer for Stanford in 2008 with 16 goals. Noyola, a 2008 NSCAA first team All-American, will shore up a tough midfield for the Cardinal. Junior goalkeeper Kira Maker will hold strong in the net as she had a 0.33 goals-against-average in 2008 while having 14 shutouts.
UCLA is returning seven starters, including 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, senior forward Lauren Cheney. Cheney has been a force for the Bruins and in 2008 led the team in points, with 31, while netting 11 goals and nine assists. Up top, Cheney will work with another senior leader in forward Kristina Larsen. Larsen led the team with 13 goals in 2008. Sophomore forward Sydney Leroux will work up top in her second season. A tough defender, Barnes will shore up the back line for the Bruins. Junior midfielder Kylie Wright will look to break out as the top midfielder for the Bruins in 2009. In goal, the Bruins will need to replace standout Ashley Thompson, but they have three capable options, including redshirt sophomore transfer Chante Sandiford.
With a strong recruiting class, which brings in seven true freshmen with great credentials to pair with returnees like junior foward Ashli Sandoval and junior midfielder/forward Megan Ohai, the Trojans should be able to pick up their winning ways right where they left off. Sandoval led the team in points in 2008, netting six goals and nine assists. The Trojans second-leading scorer in 2008, junior midfielder Alyssa Davila put away seven goals and will be back in action in 2009. Ohai brings her strong eye for the goal as well as U-23 U.S. National Team experience. The strong anchor in the net for USC is senior goalkeeper Kristin Olsen. Providing leadership for the defensive line in front of Olsen will be redshirt senior Meagan Holmes. Holmes is a steady defender with a strong presence in the air.
With 19 total returnees and 10 starters back in 2009, Washington will be a deep squad with a great deal of experience. Led by skillful senior forward Veronica Perez, who lead the squad in goals with 13 and was tied for first in assists with five, will look to build on her stellar season in 2009. Sophomore Kate Deines, who made an immediate impact in 2008, scoring seven goals, the second-most all-time by a Husky freshman, will look to use her great skill and tactical knowledge to shore up the midfield. On the back line, the Huskies are led by senior defender Lindsey Kasser, who has developed into a strong leader for the team as a captain and anchored a defensive unit which allowed only 1.38 goals per game in 2008.
The 2008 leading scorer for the Cougars, senior forward Elysse Van Leer, who netted seven goals and is fourth on the all-time list at Washington State, will help lead the offense. She will be joined up top by senior Kiersten Dallstream, who is sixth on the WSU all-time goals-scored list and was invited to this year's U-23 U.S. National Team training camp. The defense will be shored up by sophomore Ali Fenter, who is coming off a strong freshman campaign in which she was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and was named Honorable Mention All-Pac-10. In goal, the Cougars have junior Lindsay Parlee, who has 0.90 goals-against-average on her career, which putting her fourth on the all-time Washington State list.