Preview: 2014 women's soccer season

The 2014 Pac-12 women's soccer season begins tomorrow and the year is shaping up to be one of the most competitive ever. Check out team-by-team previews for the upcoming season below.

  ARIZONA
  2013 Record: 9-7-4, 4-6-1 Pac-12 (T-8th)
Arizona Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F Alexandra Doller, GK Gabby Kaufman, MF Jaden DeGracie, D Sheaffer Skadsen, D Alexa Montgomery

Head coach Tony Amato returns for his second season with the Wildcats after going 9-7-4 in his first season, including an unbeaten streak of seven games to open the season. UA has 20 players returning from last year, with a class of six seniors that includes forward Alexandra Doller, the team’s top-returning goal scorer from 2013. Senior goalkeeper Gabby Kaufman is also back for another year after posting five shutouts in her junior campaign, tied for fifth-best in UA history for a single season. Arizona adds 12 newcomers, with 11 freshmen and one junior college transfer.

   ARIZONA STATE
   2013 Record: 14-7-2, 4-5-2 Pac-12 (T-6th)
Arizona State Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F Cali Farquharson, D McKenzie Berryhill, F Sara Tosti

The Sun Devils return six regular starters from last year’s team, including junior forward Cali Farquharson and junior defender McKenzie Berryhill, both of whom were second-team All-Pac-12 selections last year and participated at the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team training camp. Head coach Kevin Boyd, the program’s all-time leader in career wins, looks to mix in some new talent with 10 newcomers and three redshirt players entering the fray, all of which had good looks in practices and a scrimmage against Northern Arizona. ASU has a challenge in scheduling, playing seven of its first nine contests away from home before opening Pac-12 play.

  CALIFORNIA
   2013 Record: 11-5-5, 4-4-3 Pac-12 (5th)
California Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: MF Taylor Comeau, MF/F Kory Lamet, F Grace Leer, F Ifeoma Onumonu, F/MF Samantha Witteman

The Golden Bears will face some severe turnover after the departure of a senior class that included more than half of the starting lineup. But Cal returns 20 players to help lead an incoming class that was recognized as one of the top-five classes in the nation according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. Cal has advanced to the postseason for 10-consecutive seasons and looks to extend the streak under head coach Neil McGuire. Key returnees for the team include the team’s leading goal scorer in Ifeoma Onumonu, as well as forward/midfielder Samantha Witteman and forward Grace Leer. The trio combined for 15 goals and seven assists in 2013.

  COLORADO
   2013 Record: 14-7-2, 4-5-2 Pac-12 (T-6th)
Colorado Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F Brie Hooks, F Madison Krauser, MF Darcy Jerman, F Emily Paxton, D Bianca Jones

The Buffs have posted consistent improvements in two seasons under head coach Danny Sanchez and look to build upon that momentum after reaching the NCAA Sweet 16 for just the second time in program history in 2013. CU has a big hole to fill at goalkeeper after the loss of Annie Brunner, but the Buffs have key returnees in sophomore forward Brie Hooks, who had a standout freshman season, and junior forward Madison Krauser, who scored four goals and added six assists in 2013.

  OREGON
   2013 Record: 4-12-3, 2-8-1 Pac-12 (12th)
Oregon Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F Kristin Parr, F Bri Pugh, GK Abby Steele, MF Kiyomi Cook, D Riley Smith, D Reilley Moore

The Ducks face another year of rebuilding under second-year coach Kat Mertz after finishing the season last in the Pac-12, despite recording upsets over Arizona and then-No. 12 California. Oregon had a good spring season, going 3-0-1, and outscoring opponents, 11-2, thanks to an experienced roster of forwards that includes Kristin Parr and Bri Pugh, as well as junior Brooke Strawn, who comes back after suffering an injury last season. The midfield has some added depth with three newcomers to support a strong core of seniors. The UO defense is also strong despite some turnover, and will be anchored by senior goalkeeper Abby Steele, as well as returning senior defenders Riley Smith and Reilley Moore.

  OREGON STATE
   2013 Record: 6-12-2, 4-6-1 (T-8th)
Oregon State Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: D Kathryn Baker, F Helene Haavik, MF Gwen Bieck, MF Annie Govig

The Beavers struggled last season, slipping in the Pac-12 standings for its lowest finish since 2008, but look to bounce back and improve this season under head coach Linus Rhode. Oregon State will face a heavy amount of turnover this season, losing its top six scorers and 14 total letterwinners from last season. Rhode will look to a very young roster with just five returning letterwinners to provide leadership. Rhode signed 11 true freshmen in the offseason for a total of 16 newcomers that will look to contribute heavily. Defender Kathryn Baker comes back after a standout freshman season where she was named honorable mention All-Pac-12, the lone all-Conference selection for the Beavers.

  STANFORD
   2013 Record: 15-6-1, 6-5-0 Pac-12 (4th)
Stanford Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F Taylor Uhl, M/F Lo’eau LaBonta, MF Alex Doll, D Laura Liedle, D Kendal Romine

The Cardinal has a strong core of returnees, with two players on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list in midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta and striker Taylor Uhl. Uhl tied for the Pac-12 goal-scoring lead last season, while LaBonta had four goals and was named first team All-Pacific Region last year. Stanford returns nine starters from last year’s team that finished 15-6-1 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth-consecutive season. The Cardinal also brings in a top recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com, with seven freshmen and including four members of U.S. youth national team player pools. Ranked sixth in the preseason NSCAA top-25 polling, Stanford is primed to continue its success on the soccer field.

  UCLA
   2013 Record: 22-1-3, 9-0-2 Pac-12 (1st)
UCLA Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: D Abby Dahlkemper, GK Katelyn Rowland, F Darian Jenkins, MF Sarah Killion, F Kodi Lavrusky

All eyes are on the reigning NCAA Champions as the Bruins have high expectations entering the season being ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA preseason poll and were picked to win the Conference for another year by the league’s coaches. Second-year coach Amanda Cromwell returns 10 starters from last year’s squad, including the entire backline that led the nation in goals against average with a 0.30 mark. UCLA also boasts a national-best four MAC Hermann Watch List honorees in Abby Dahlkemper, Darian Jenkins, Sarah Killion and Katelyn Rowland.

  USC
   2013 Record: 8-10-2, 3-7-1 Pac-12 (11th)
USC Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: F/MF Kayla Mills, MF Jamie Fink, F Katie Johnson, D Marlee Carrillo

The Trojans bring in new leadership in first-year head coach Keidane McAlpine, the former Washington State head coach, who looks to turn around USC’s performance after an 11th-place finish in the Conference last year. McAlpine signed nine freshmen, including two of the top 20 players in California, to add to returning talent that includes assists leader Kayla Mills, junior midfielder Jamie Fink and forward Katie Johnson. The latter two both scored five goals apiece in 2013.

  UTAH
   2013 Record: 10-5-6, 6-3-2 Pac-12 (3rd)
Utah Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: GK Lindsey Luke, MF Katie Taylor, F Ashton Hall, D Megan Trabert

The Utes are coming off their sixth trip to the NCAA Championships after placing third in the Conference, their best finish since joining the league in 2011. Coming back for the Utes is goalkeeper Lindsey Luke, a third-team NSCAA All-Pacific Region selection and a second-team All-Pac-12 honoree after setting a school record in single-season shutouts with nine. Senior midfielder Katie Taylor, another third-team NSCAA All-Pacific Region honoree, also returns for Utah after leading the team in goals and points in her junior year.

  WASHINGTON
   2013 Record: 7-9-4, 3-4-4 Pac-12 (T-8th)
Washington Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: GK Megan Kufeld, F Beca Schoales, F Jaclyn Softli, D Allyson Brahs

The Huskies aim to improve upon last year’s finish after losing seven games by just a single goal. Despite the departure of six seniors, UW brings back plenty of last year’s offensive talent, including leading scorer Kate Bennett, and forwards Becca Schoales and Jaclyn Softli. Defensively, the Huskies bring back standout goalkeeper Megan Kufeld, who posted eight shutouts and 88 saves. UW also has some much-needed strength on the backline with the return of two of last year’s starters in Allyson Brahs and Havana McElvaine, as well as some injured players from last season.

  WASHINGTON STATE
   2013 Record: 14-3-4, 7-3-1 Pac-12 (2nd)
Washington State Women's Soccer Home | Schedule | Roster
Key Returners: MF Nicole Setterlund, GK Gurveen Clair, D Mesa Owsley

The Cougars also have a new head coach this season as Steve Nugent takes over at the helm of the program. Washington State has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five of the last six seasons, including 2013 when the Cougars set or tied 28 school records over the course of the year. Headlining the Cougar offense is senior midfielder Nicole Setterlund, who scored eight goals and is the leading returning scorer for WSU. Defensively, starting goalkeeper Gurveen Clair returns for her senior season. Clair holds the school record in career goals against average (0.72), save percentage (82.3), shutouts (24) and wins (34).

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