Pac-12 women's soccer kicks off this week

Washington State Athletics

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• The 2014 Pac-12 women’s soccer season begins this week, with all 12 league teams kicking off action on Friday, Aug. 22. Four games in total this week will be televised, including two games featuring reigning NCAA champion UCLA. 

• After a season that saw the third national championship all-time for the Pac-12, league teams look to carry over the momentum into the 2014 season. Leading the charge is UCLA, which was picked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason poll. STANFORD was selected sixth overall, as the Cardinal returns nine starters and adds the top-ranked recruiting class in the nation according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. Three other Conference teams received votes in the poll: CALIFORNIA, COLORADO and WASHINGTON STATE. The Bruins were also picked to finish first in the Conference by the Pac-12 coaches. 

• The Pac-12 once again boasts some of the best women’s soccer talent on the West Coast, as six players from the Conference were named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list. UCLA had a national-best four honorees on the list, while STANFORD had two. 

• The Conference has always had talent from top to bottom, as was evidenced last year when three of the teams projected to finish in the bottom half of the league finished in the top half, particularly Washington State which was picked at 10th in the preseason but finished second overall. This season, USC, which finished 11th in last year’s standings, was picked by coaches to finish fourth in the 2014 standings, while the Cougars were voted at sixth. Twenty-one of the Conference games last season went to overtime, and this year looks to bring in even more close contests. 

• This season, Pac-12 women’s soccer will receive unprecedented coverage with 69 games set to be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Networks, including 27 non-conference games to begin the year. For more information, including a complete TV schedule, visit www.pac-12.com. 

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