Two Pac-12 teams in top 10 of NSCAA women's preseason poll
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - UCLA and STANFORD both received top-10 rankings in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)’s 2014 preseason poll, the organization announced today. The Bruins were tabbed first overall, with the Cardinal weighing in at sixth. Three other Pac-12 schools – WASHINGTON STATE, CALIFORNIA and COLORADO – also received votes in the poll.
UCLA enters 2014 as the reigning national champion, winning its first title in program history last season and posting a 22-1-3 record. This year, the Bruins return 10 starters from last season’s squad, including Honda Award winner Abby Dahlkemper, U.S. National Team members Sam Mewis and Sarah Killion, and last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Darian Jenkins. UCLA’s schedule includes games against 21-time NCAA champion North Carolina, along with five other teams that advanced to last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Stanford brings back nine starters from last year’s team, including Taylor Uhl who led the Pac-12 in goals scored, after finishing 15-6-1 and advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in last year’s Women’s College Cup. The Cardinal also brings in the top-ranked recruiting class in the country according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. Stanford will play against 11 NCAA tournament teams from last year, opening the season against fourth-ranked North Carolina and playing games against five other teams that received a top-25 ranking in the NSCAA preseason poll.
The Cougars will look to new head coach Steve Nugent for another postseason appearance after having advanced to the NCAA Championship in five of the last six seasons, including last year when the Cougars set or tied 28 school records while finishing as runners-up in the Pac-12 with a 14-3-4 overall record. The Golden Bears also have a challenging schedule ahead, bringing in the fifth-ranked recruiting class in the nation to play eight games against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams after finishing last season with an 11-5-5 mark. The Buffaloes had an historic season in 2013, advancing to the Sweet 16 for just the second time in program history and upsetting back-to-back ranked teams in the postseason under second year head coach Danny Sanchez.
The 2014 Pac-12 women’s soccer season kicks off on Aug. 22 with all 12 teams in action. This year, the league will receive unprecedented coverage with 69 games set to be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, including 27 non-conference games to begin the year. For more information, including a composite schedule, visit www.pac-12.com.