This year in Pac-12 women's soccer

By the Pac-12 Conference

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Six Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2012, and four teams hosted first round matches. Conference champion Stanford, which reached its fifth consecutive College Cup, fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in the semifinal. Pac-12 teams posted a 75-28-12 (.704) record against non-conference competition this season, and three teams claimed spots in the final NSCAA rankings. Stanford finished the season at No. 3, while UCLA came in at No. 5, and California jumped to No. 21 in the poll. Five players represented the Pac-12 on NSCAA All-America teams— Zakiya Bywaters (first team) and Abby Dahlkemper (second team) of UCLA and Alina Garciamendez (first team), Rachel Quon (first team) and Mariah Noguiera (second team) of Stanford. Additionally, 23 of the 33 players named to the NSCAA All-Pacific Region team are from Pac-12 schools. Stanford midfielder Mariah Nogueira was named the Pac-12 Women's Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. 

LEAGUE WRAP-UP

Arizona (6-11-3) posted a five-win improvement over 2011, which included a signature win over California in the Pac-12 opener. Forward Jazmin Ponce, the Conference's leader in shots per game (4.25), was a first team All-Pac-12 performer, while goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman led the league in saves (108) in her first year in net for the Wildcats.

Arizona State (10-9-2) won its final four regular season games to secure a fourth-place Conference finish and earned its third NCAA Tournament berth in the last four years. Three Sun Devils— senior Taylor McCarter, junior Devin Marshall and freshman Cali Farquharson— were All-Pac-12 selections. ASU notched regular season wins over NCAA Tournament teams Washington State and Pepperdine.

California (16-6-0) finished third in the Conference and earned a No. 21 ranking in the final NSCAA poll. The Bears closed out the regular season on a 13-3 run and were in the hunt for the Pac-12 Championship until the final week of the season. Making its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, Cal knocked off Pepperdine on the road in the first round. Forward Ifeoma Onumonu, who tied for third in the Conference in points per game (1.33), was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

Colorado (8-8-4) finished with a 6-1-2 record in non-conference play and was very competitive against Pac-12 competition in Danny Sanchez's first year at the helm. The Buffaloes lost just one league match by multiple goals and saw six extend into overtime. They lost to each of the Conference's top three teams by one-goal margins and carried late leads over California and Stanford. Midfielder Amy Barczuk was a second team All-Pac-12 selection, while midfielder Madison Krauser was named to the Freshman All-Pac-12 team.

Oregon (8-10-2) allowed 1.02 goals per game this season, a figure that ranks third in the Pac-12, and the Ducks conceded three goals just one time (Stanford is the only Conference team to allow two goals or fewer in every game). They closed out the season on a high note, claiming a 2-0 victory over Oregon State in the Civil War. Midfielder Scout Libke received All-Pac-12 honorable mention acclaim, while defender Mariah Powers earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team.

Oregon State (11-6-3) reached 11 wins for the fourth consecutive year under head coach Linus Rhode, and is one of three Pac-12 teams to accomplish that feat. The Beavers, who went 8-1 in non-conference play and notched a marquee road win over then-No. 18 Portland, were ranked as highly as No. 23 in the NSCAA poll. Forward Jenna Richardson, who ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in goals per game (0.44), was a second team All-Pac-12 selection, while Sammy Jo Prudhomme earned Pac-12 All-Freshman laurels.

Stanford (21-2-1) posted its fourth consecutive perfect Conference record, made its 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to its fifth straight College Cup semifinal, where it fell to eventual national champion North Carolina in overtime. Nine Cardinal players garnered all conference accolades, with a league-high five being named to the first team. Defenders Alina Garciamendez and Rachel Quon and midfielder Mariah Nogueira were tabbed NSCAA All-Americans.

UCLA (18-3-2) came in at No. 6 in the final NSCAA poll after finishing second in the Pac-12 and advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. UCLA was the last unbeaten team in Division I, with its first loss coming in the penultimate week of the regular season. Nine Bruins were named to all-conference teams, and Pac-12 Player of the Year Zakiya Bywaters and defender Abby Dahlkemper were NSCAA All-Americans.

USC (6-10-3) closed out the 2012 campaign with an upset of then-No. 2 UCLA to gain some momentum heading into 2013. Prior to its win over UCLA, USC suffered one-goal losses to California and Stanford, and eight of its 11 Pac-12 games, including the loss to the Cardinal, were decided in overtime. Mideifleder/forward Samantha Johnson garnered All-Pac-12 honorable mention, while midfielder Jamie Fink earned an All-Pac-12 Freshman team nod.

Utah (8-8-3) started the season on a tear, posting a 5-1-2 record in non-conference play that included victories over Conference USA champion Colorado College, and Mountain West Conference champion BYU, which came in at No. 5 in the final NSCAA poll. The Utes proved tough to beat at home this season, as they went 6-2 in Salt Lake City and allowed just two goals in their home wins. Defender Avery Ford earned Pac-12 honorable mention status, and Lindsey Luke was one of two goalkeepers selected to the All-Pac-12 Freshman team.

Washington (10-8-3) reeled off seven straight wins to open the season, four of which came on the road, and five of which were decided by multiple-goal margins. The Huskies earned an impressive win over Arizona State and showed resilience in an overtime victory over Colorado in Pac-12 play. The Huskies received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking its eighth berth since 2000. Midfielders Lindsay Elston and Isabel Farrell and goalkeeper Kari Davidson garnered All-Pac-12 consideration.

Washington State (12-6-2) won five of its final seven matches to finish tied for fourth in the Conference and earned its third NCAA tournament berth in the last four seasons. The Cougars fell to No. 24 Portland in penalty kicks in the first round. Forwards Micaela Castain and Brandi Vega and defender Rachael Doyle were second team All-Pac-12 selections. Castain, who averaged 0.55 goals per game, was the Conference's third-leading scorer.

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