Pac-12 Women's Soccer: Team Previews

The Pac-12 Conference women's soccer teams kick off the 2011 season Friday under a familiar spotlight as five Pac-12 teams hold a national preseason ranking: NCAA runner-up Stanford is ranked second in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, and is followed by No. 16 UCLA, No. 19 Oregon State, No. 20 Washington and No. 25 USC. Click on a school name below to read a complete team preview and learn everything you need to know for the upcoming season.

Arizona | Arizona State | California | Colorado | Oregon | Oregon State

Stanford | UCLA | USC | Utah | Washington | Washington State


Arizona Wildcats

2010 Overall Record: 5-13-2

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 1-8/10th

Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/3

Newcomers: 7

Head Coach: Lisa Oyen (2nd year)

Alma Mater: Montana '98

Record at Arizona: 5-13-2

Assistant Coaches: Danielle Sunderhaus

2011 Team Preview

Renae's return: Senior Renae Cuellar, the Wildcats' leading goal scorer, returns to play after a season-ending knee injury in 2010. She scored six goals in six matches played.

Defense: Goalkeeper Ashley Jett comes back with a year of starting experience in the net, which will benefit the team when facing a league full of powerful offenses.

Combined experience: Arizona's returnees combine for 234 starts from the 2010 season. Last year's large freshmen class now has another year of experience to help the 'Cats improve.

Arizona missed its top goal scorer, Cuellar, for the final 14 matches of the season, including the entire conference slate. Cuellar had netted six goals and three assists through six matches played, before she was sidelined with a knee injury that required season-ending surgery.

Key Matchups

Sept. 24 - at Stanford

Oct. 9 - vs. Oregon State

Nov. 4 - vs. Arizona State

The Wildcats kick off Conference play with a road challenge at No. 2 Stanford. Arizona hosts 19th-ranked Oregon State at midseason, whose goalkeeping will prove difficult for the Wildcats' lagging offense to get past. Arizona wraps up the regular season with archrival Arizona State.

Player to Watch

# 8 - Jazmin Ponce

Sophomore - Forward/Midfielder - Lawndale, Calif.

Ponce returns after a 19-start freshman year that resulted in a spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team and an All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2010. She led the squad with 49 shot attempts and 20 shots on goal in 2010.


Arizona State Sun Devils

2010 Overall Record: 9-8-3

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 3-5-1/T-7th

Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 18/8

Newcomers: 5

Head Coach: Kevin Boyd (5th year)

Alma Mater: Tri-State University '90

Record at Arizona State: 36-32-12

Assistant Coaches: Scott Champ, Paige Carmichael

2011 Team Preview

Offense: Sophomore Devin Marshall is expected to boost the young offense in conjunction with redshirt juniors Sierra Cook (5 career goals) and Courtney Tinnin (4 career goals). Tinnin, who led ASU in assists in 2009 with six, did not play in 2010 due to a knee injury.

Midfield: The ASU midfield will be strong as it returns 2010 All-Pac-10 second-team performer Taylor McCarter, who has started all 40 of ASU's games the last two seasons, and sophomore Holland Crook, who started 14 of 20 contests last year and had a strong offseason, according to Sun Devil head coach Kevin Boyd.

Defense: The Sun Devils return the majority of their starting backline from last season in addition to junior goalkeeper Alyssa Gillmore, who has started ASU's last 30 contests. Gillmore posted five shutouts last year, including one over eventual NCAA Women's College Cup participant Ohio State.

Key Matchups

Sept. 2 - at Virginia

Oct. 7 - vs. Oregon State

Oct. 14 - vs. Stanford

Oct. 23 - at UCLA

ASU faces several preseason top-25 teams, including second-ranked Stanford, 10th-ranked Virginia, 16th-ranked UCLA and 19th-ranked Oregon State.

Player to Watch

#8 - Devin Marshall

Sophomore - Forward - Bonita, Calif.

Marshall was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team in 2010 following a season in which she played in all 20 games (18 starts) and finished third on the team in scoring (10 points), tied for third on the team in goals (3) and tied for first on the team in assists (4).


California Golden Bears

2010 Overall Record: 9-6-5

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4-1/5th

Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/6

Newcomers: 9

Head Coach: Neil McGuire (4th year)

Alma Mater: Augusta State '97

Record at California: 45-29-8

Assistant Coaches: Patrick Baker, Kelly Sack Baker

2011 Team Preview

Senior experience: forward Katie Benz, midfielder Katie Suits, defender/forward Miranda White and defenders Kaitlin Paletta and Danielle Brunache will fill the void left by 2010's seniors. Brunache will captain the defense as a fourth-year starter.

Depth on the field: even with the loss of U.S. Women's National Soccer team member Alex Morgan and the other graduated seniors, seven returning starters plus nine incoming freshmen provide the most depth the program has had in the past three years, according to a program representative.

Depth in the net: the Bears have four goalkeepers to rotate throughout the season.

Key matchups

Sept. 30 - at Washington

Oct. 9 - vs. USC

Nov. 5 - at Stanford

Washington and Cal had a storied history of drawn-out games and after the Huskies advanced deep into the NCAA Tournament last year; this season's matchup on Sept. 30 should be no different. Cal lost in overtime to USC last year and will seek retribution. The Bay Area Derby consistently presents the best soccer in the Bay Area between heated rivals Cal and Stanford.

Player to Watch

# 6 - Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick

Sophomore - Midfielder - Pleasanton, Calif.

Fitzpatrick had two goals—both of which were gamewinners—and two assists in just her first year in the Blue and Gold. A Pac-10 All-Freshman pick, the Bears will look to Fitzpatrick to be their scoring leader in 2011.


Colorado Buffaloes

2010 Overall Record: 8-9-3

2010 Big 12 Record/Finish: 4-5-1/8th

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 16/8

Newcomers: 5

Head Coach: Bill Hempen (11th year)

Alma Mater: Evansville '81

Record at Colorado: 110-75-26

Assistant Coaches: Chris Gnehm, Tracy Chao

2011 Team Preview

The Keeper's a keeper: Annie Brunner returns for her sophomore season with a year of collegiate experience behind her. After starting 19 of 20 games in 2010, Brunner impressed with her 1.10 goals against average. Her standout performances earned her the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week and the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors during the season.

Midfielders: Senior Kate Russell, junior Amy Barczuk and sophomore Hayley Hughes will combine their 5,436 collective minutes of play and eight total goals in 2010 to provide more scoring opportunities for a corps of young forwards.

Defense: senior and former Arizona Wildcat Amy Steiner is expected to hold down the defensive side of the field after starting all 19 games she played in 2010. Lizzy Herzel and Maggi Steury will also contribute to the Buffs' defensive efforts.

Key Matchups

Aug. 19-21 - Inaugural Colorado Cup Tournament

Aug. 19 - at Colorado College at Denver

Aug. 21 - vs. Northern Colorado at Boulder

Sept. 11 - vs. Denver

Sept. 23 - at Oregon State

Colorado opens the season with the inaugural Colorado Cup to battle against other soccer programs in the state before heading West to take on its new Pac-12 opponents. On Sept. 11, CU takes on the University of Denver for the 15th time since 1997. The CU-DU game is always an intense matchup, but the Buffs currently hold an 8-5-1 record against the Pioneers. Sept. 23 marks the start of a new era in CU women's soccer. The Buffs will travel to Corvallis, Ore., to take on the Beavers for their first ever Pac-12 matchup of the season. It will also be the first meeting between the teams.

Player to Watch

# 13 - Kate Russell

Senior - Midfielder - Longmont, Co.

Russell returns for her senior year coming off a strong 2010 campaign. Russell led the Buffs in points (11) and assists (5), and tied for the most goals (3), shots (41) and shots on goal (20) last season. She will be taking on a leadership role this year as one of the Buffs' five seniors. Russell is currently tied for third on CU's career assist list with 14, and her ability to set up goals at crucial moments has proven to be a great benefit for her team. She was named to the DU Invitational All-Tournament Team, Gonzaga University All-Tournament Team and All-Big 12 second team last season.


Oregon Ducks

2010 Overall Record: 7-10-3

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 3-5-2/T-7th

Starters Returning/Lost: 6/5

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/6

Newcomers: 12

Head Coach: Tara Erickson (7th year)

Alma Mater: Washington '96

Record at Oregon: 54-52-13

Assistant Coaches: Lauren Hanson, Mac Wilson

2011 Team Preview

Midfield: Junior Scout Libke returns to anchor the center midfield. During the offseason Libke was named to the U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program's Under-19 team, which played three games in Germany.

Defense: The Ducks return three starters on the back line. Senior Taylor Jones, junior Lauren Thompson and sophomore Achijah Berry join senior goalkeeper Lindsay Parlee to anchor the defense.

Coaching: Tara Erickson is the school's all-time winningest coach as she enters her seventh year at the helm, boasting 54 career victories in Eugene.

Key Matchups

Aug. 28 vs. UNLV

Sept. 4 vs. Santa Clara

Sept. 9 at LSU

The Ducks face UNLV in their home opener before hosting a tournament the following weekend. No. 15 Santa Clara is among the tournament's participants and should provide a challenge to the young Oregon team. A mere five days later, Oregon takes on LSU in Baton Rouge, and then heads into Pac-12 play.

Player to Watch

# 3 - Scout Libke

Junior - Midfielder - Portland, Ore.

Libke is Oregon's top returnee in points (6), goals (2), shots (40), shots on goal (22), shots on goal percentage (.550) and game-winning goals (2). She has the second-most assists (2) coming back from last season. Libke has started all 40 possible matches in her two years at Oregon.


Oregon State Beavers

2010 Overall Record: 16-4-1

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 7-2-0/2nd

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 18/2

Newcomers: 3

Head Coach: Linus Rhode (4th year)

Alma Mater: Portland '96

Record at Oregon State: 36-23-4

Assistant Coaches: Michelle Voiland, Eric Pohl

2011 Team Preview

Early success: Linus Rhode enters his fourth year at the helm of the program with the most wins by a Beavers head coach to start his career and back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Returning starters: The Beavers welcome back nine starters, including senior goalkeeper Colleen Boyd, junior Chelsea Buckland, Oregon State's scoring leader for 2010, and 2010 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Jenna Richardson.

Net Working: Boyd led the conference in shutouts last season with 14.

Key Matchups

Sept. 30 - at USC

Oct. 23 - vs. Washington

Oct. 28 - vs. Stanford

Player to Watch

# 3 - Jenna Richardson

Sophomore - Forward - Surrey, B.C.

Jenna Richardson enters 2011 as the reigning Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. She tallied nine goals and five assists on the season, and tied for first on the team with 23 points. She finished the year with four game-winning goals, tying for third in the Conference in the category.


Stanford Cardinal

2010 Overall Record: 23-1-2

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 9-0/1st

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 19/5

Newcomers: 6

Head Coach: Paul Ratcliffe (9th year)

Alma Mater: UCLA '94

Record at Stanford: 133-35-18

Assistant Coaches: Jay Cooney, Nicole Van Dyke

2011 Team Preview

Defense: Stanford returns its entire back four and goalkeeper, who combined to help the Cardinal record 14 shutouts and hold opponents to only 0.45 goals per game en route to the NCAA Women's College Cup final.

Midfield: The Cardinal returns two All-Americans in the midfield, attacking midfielder Teresa Noyola (10 goals, 12 assists in '10) and defensive midfielder Mariah Nogueira (5 goals, 4 assists in '10).

Coaching: Paul Ratcliffe has won two NSCAA National Coach of the Year awards is the reigning Conference Coach of the Year.

Key Matchups

Sept. 9 - vs. Notre Dame

Sept. 15 - at Portland

Oct. 9 - vs. UCLA

Stanford's match against Notre Dame is the rematch of December's NCAA Women's College Cup final, where the Irish defeated the Cardinal 1-0. If Stanford gets past Big Ten co-champ Penn State on Aug. 19, the Cardinal's home winning streak would be on the line. Stanford's match at Portland should be another duel of highly-ranked teams and is among 13 matches against 2010 NCAA Tournament participants. Stanford has eliminated UCLA from the past two NCAA Tournaments, so that rivalry is expected to intensify on Oct. 9 at Stanford's Cagan Stadium.

Player to Watch

# 7 - Teresa Noyola

Senior - Midfielder - Palo Alto, Calif.

Teresa Noyola, a two-time NSCAA first-team All-American, returns as the team's top playmaker. Noyola is only the fifth player in Stanford history to achieve multiple first-team national honors and will serve Stanford well as the creative force to the team. Noyola gained valuable experience playing in the 2011 FIFA World Cup for Mexico, making her national team debut in December, shortly after the NCAA Women's College Cup. Noyola is coming off career highs in goals (10) and assists (12), and is the team's top returning scorer (32 points). In her three collegiate seasons, Noyola has never failed to reach the College Cup.


UCLA Bruins

2010 Overall Record: 13-8-2

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 5-4/4th


Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 11/7

Newcomers: 12

 

Head Coach: B.J. Snow (1st year)

Alma Mater: Indiana '00

Record at UCLA: 0-0-0

Assistant Coaches: Louise Lieberman, Manny Martins

 

2011 Team Preview

New leadership: First-year head coach B.J. Snow looks to continue the success of long-time head coach Jillian Ellis, who accepted a position with U.S. National Team following the 2010 season. 

Depth: Snow, who served as assistant head coach under Ellis, has a wealth of talent returning in 2011, led by senior All-American Sydney Leroux, who has led the team in scoring the last two seasons.  In addition to Leroux, returnees including midfielder Zakiya Bywaters, midfielder Jenna Richmond, midfielder Chelsea Cline and goalkeeper Chante' Sandiford all figure to help the Bruins maintain their position among the elite teams.

New additions: Several newcomers should also figure into this year's starting lineup, as Snow landed the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in the offseason.  Ten of the 11 players who signed with UCLA in February have played extensively with the U.S. Youth National Team program.


Key Matchups

Aug. 28 - vs. Florida

Lady Vol Classic

Oct. 2 - vs. Oregon State

Oct. 9 - at Stanford

Nov. 4 - vs. USC

The Bruins take on ninth-ranked Florida early in the season before hitting a string of nationally ranked Conference opponents including powerhouses Oregon State, Stanford in Palo Alto and archrival USC.

 

Player to Watch

#2 - Sydney Leroux

Senior - Forward - Vancouver, B.C., Canada

 

National player-of-the-year candidate Sydney Leroux enters her final season at UCLA with the hopes of bringing the Bruins their first NCAA title in women's soccer.  Leroux, who was a third-team NSCAA All-American a year ago, led the team in scoring in 2010 with 27 points (13 goals, 1 assist).  She was also named to Soccer America's MVP First Team.  In addition to her efforts in the college game, Leroux has proven herself on the international stage as well, as she is the most capped U.S. player at the Under-20 level.  She has also tallied more goals at the U-20 level than any other U.S. player, earning Golden Ball (top player) and Golden Shoe (top scorer) honors at the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Chile.


USC Trojans

2010 Overall Record: 13-6-3

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 5-3-1/3rd

Starters Returning/Lost: 9/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 15/4

Newcomers: 10

Head Coach: Ali Khosroshahin (5th year)

Alma Mater: Cal State Los Angeles '94

Record at School: 61-20-10

Assistant Coaches: P.J. Woolridge, Laura Janke

2011 Team Preview

Senior strength: Among the key senior returnees are defender Claire Schloemer and midfielders Brittany Kerridge, Carly Butcher and Ashley Freyer. The seniors take over for the 2010 senior class that graduated three members of USC's 2007 national title team.

Speed and muscle: Two of the team's biggest strengths are its quickness and strength—a tough combination for any team to beat.

Healed knees: Defender Chelsea Buehning and midfielder Morgan Morrow return after sustaining ACL injuries in 2010. Morrow has played in just 16 games in her two years as a Trojan because of another knee injury prior to arriving at USC and her midseason injury in 2010.

Key Matchups

Aug. 21 - vs. San Diego

Oct. 9 - at California

Nov. 4 - at UCLA

USC lost twice to the Toreros in 2010, while last season's battle versus Cal featured hat tricks for USC's Elizabeth Eddy and Cal's Alex Morgan in a 5-4 USC overtime win.

The Crosstown Showdown goes back to the home of the Bruins this year after the Trojans got their first regular-season win over UCLA since 1998.

Player to Watch

# 10 - Ashli Sandoval

RS Senior - Midfielder/Defender - Granite Hills, Calif.

Sandoval was USC's top scorer in 2010 with six goals, three of which were game-winners. She was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention in 2010, and enters her final season ranked No. 4 all-time on USC's career assists list (23). She is the final remaining member of the 2007 NCAA Championship team.


Utah Utes

2010 Overall Record: 5-15-1

2010 MWC Record/Finish: 3-3-1/4th

Starters Returning/Lost: 8/3

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/9

Newcomers: 11

Head Coach: Rich Manning (10th year)

Alma Mater: Santa Clara '86

Record at Utah: 110-63-19

Assistant Coach: Ryan Crabbe, Mariel Wilner

2011 Team Preview

Healthy returners: The Utes could have as many as six key players return to total health for the first time in two years.

Defense: Utah returns its entire back line, including four-year starting center-backs Lauren Dudley and Lauren Porter, as well as senior goalkeeper Hannah Turpen.

Young talent: Utah brought in 11 freshmen, several of whom have impressed in preseason training camp and could have an instant impact on the starting lineup.

Key Matchups

Aug. 23 - at BYU

Sept. 2 - at Utah State

Sept. 30 - vs. Arizona State

 

Utah heads to Provo to take on historic rival BYU in the second game of the season, looking to snap a four-match winless streak against the Cougars. Just over a week later, Utah will face another traditional rival on the road as the Utes head north to Logan for a matchup against Utah State. Utah has dominated that series with an 11-2 record against the Aggies, including a 4-1 mark on USU's home field. Sept. 30 will mark Utah's first-ever home game as a member of the Pac-12. The all-time series between the Utes and Sun Devils is tied at 2-2.

 

Player to Watch

# 4 Lauren Porter

Senior - Defender - Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Porter enters her senior year following three consecutive all-MWC campaigns. The four-year starter is this year's lone team captain, selected for her on-field performance as well as her stellar record in the classroom. Porter brings toughness and leadership to the back line along with a great heading presence, both on clearances from the defensive end as well as a physical threat on set pieces going forward. She has scored five career goals, including three as a freshman, almost exclusively on headers.


Washington Huskies

2010 Overall Record: 13-9-2

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-5/6th

Starters Returning/Lost: 8/5

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 14/5

Newcomers: 5

Head Coach: Lesle Gallimore (18th year)

Alma Mater: California, '86

Record at Washington: 182-142-26

Assistant Coaches: Amy Griffin, Jim Thomas

2011 Team Preview

Confidence: The Huskies return to the field in 2011 after a magical run to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2010, their second in school history. On the way to that run, UW defeated Oklahoma, upset No. 2 Portland in PK's and defeated the higher ranked UC Irvine on UCI's home field.

Leadership: Senior midfielder Kate Deines, the team's leading goal scorer in 2010, returns to captain the Huskies along with fellow seniors Sarah Martinez, Alex Webber, Kelli Stewart and goalkeepers Jorde La-Fontaine-Kussmann and Kari Davidson.

New digs: UW re-surfaced its field in the off-season, adding turf to the bench sidelines, new team tents, a new scorers table and a berm behind the visiting teams goal. 

Key Matchups

Sept. 9- at Portland

Sept. 23- at UCLA

Oct. 2- vs. Stanford

Washington faces five ranked teams this year, including No. 2 Stanford, who went undefeated in Conference play in 2010, No. 7 Portland and No. 16 UCLA on the road. The Huskies enter 2011 ranked 20th.

 

Player to Watch

#2- Kate Deines

Senior- Midfielder- Issaquah, Wash.

 

Kate Deines led the team in both goals and points last season.  Her honors include All-Pac-10 Freshman, Second Team All-Pac-10 as a sophomore, and first team all-Conference and first team All-Pacific Region as a junior. Deines was also a second team NSCAA Scholar All-American as a junior.


Washington State Cougars

2010 Overall Record: 7-13-0

2010 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 2-7-0/9th

Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/14

Newcomers: 9

Head Coach: Matt Potter (9th year)

Alma Mater: West London '92

Record at Washington State: 76-62-22

Assistant Coach: Jason Goodson, Graeme Abel

2011 Team Preview

Coaching: Head coach Matt Potter has picked up a school record for wins with 76 total, and is looking to accrue more victories during the 2011 season.

Youth: Sixteen of 23 players on the roster are underclassmen, allowing the team to grow together over the next couple seasons.

Traditions: The team is hoping to reestablish the tradition of getting back to the NCAA postseason.

Key Matchups

Sept. 2 - vs. Wyoming

Oct. 7 - vs. Utah

Oct. 9 - vs. Colorado

The Cougars take on Wyoming in an early-season home test, and then host Conference newcomers Utah and Colorado about a month later.

Player to Watch

# 8 - Micaela Castain

Sophomore - Forward - Castro Valley, Calif.

Castain was named to the 2010 All-Pac-10 Freshmen Team and was an all-Conference honorable mention. She led the Cougars with eight goals her freshman season, including a hat trick at Weber State and two goals in an overtime victory over Washington in the final match of the 2010 season. Castain was one of seven forwards selected to participate in a camp for the U.S. U-20 National Team in July.

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