Five Pac-12 Women’s Soccer teams ranked in United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll
SAN FRANCISCO – Five Pac-12 Conference women’s soccer teams appear in the 2017 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s National Preseason Coaches poll released on Thursday. STANFORD, USC and UCLA are featured in the top 10 with UTAH and COLORADO cracking the top 25.
The Pac-12 has the second-most teams in the poll with five members in the preseason top 25 for the first time since 2010. The Conference is also tied for first nationally with three teams making the top 10. All five teams earned berths to the 2016 NCAA Tournament as Stanford earned the No. 1 seed for the third-straight year and was followed up by No. 2-seeded USC, and No. 4-seeded UCLA.
Stanford is ranked No. 2 entering the 2017 season after winning its second-consecutive Pac-12 title in 2016. The Cardinal competed in its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament last fall, earning a No. 1 seed for the third straight year. They will be led by First Team All-American midfielder Andi Sullivan, who returns for her senior season in 2017.
USC, the reigning NCAA champion, is ranked No. 3 after posting a 19-4-2 record. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 school to record multiple NCAA titles, also winning the trophy in 2007. All-Pac-12 Second Team forward Alex Anthony and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team defender Julia Bingham will lead USC’s title defense.
UCLA nabs a top 10 ranking with the No. 9 spot. The Bruins returned to the NCAA Tournament for their 20th appearance after reaching the quarterfinals in 2014 and winning the National Championship in 2013. The squad will return four Pac-12 All-Conference performers, including All-Pac-12 and All-Freshman honoree Jessie Fleming and All-Pac-12 Second Team Anika Rodriquez.
Utah is ranked No. 20 in the preseason poll after making program history in 2016 by advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time. The Utes finished the 2016 season in the No. 16 spot, the second-highest final ranking behind a No. 11 finish in 2006. The team recorded several firsts last season including two Utes receiving NSCAA All-Region honors and three players earning All-Pac-12 awards.
Colorado rounds out the preseason poll with the No. 25 spot after finishing in the top 25 for the first time in program history in 2016 (No. 20). CU made its third trip to the postseason in the past five years, reaching the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Taylor Kornieck was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and will be returning for the Buffs along with eight other starters.
Pac-12 women’s soccer action starts Friday, August 18th with NCAA champion USC hosting UC Davis on the Pac-12 Network.