Stanford Women's Soccer tabbed to win Pac-12 in Preseason Coaches Poll

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Stanford Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO – STANFORD was voted by the league’s coaches to win the 2017 Pac-12 women’s soccer crown, the Conference office announced on Tuesday. The league coaches picked UCLA to finish second behind the Cardinal, followed by USC at third.

The Cardinal is coming off back-to-back Pac-12 Championships, capturing the 2015 and 2016 titles after being picked as the league favorite. Stanford has won six Pac-12 titles in the last eight years and 11 all- time. The team was ranked No. 2 in last week’s United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. Six-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year Paul Radcliffe’s squad will return 2016 Pac-12 Player of the Year Andi Sullivan and six All-Pac12 performers from a team that embarked on the program’s 19th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA, which is ranked No. 9 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll, was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 after going 15-5-2 overall and 7-3-1 in league play in 2016. The Bruins earned a No. 4 seed for their 20th NCAA Tournament last fall and advanced to the Round of 16 where they lost in penalties to eventual national runner-up West Virginia. UCLA returns nine starters, including Olympic bronze medalist Jessie Fleming who received Third Team All-America honors. In addition to an already established core, the Bruins bring in TopDrawerSoccer’s No. 2 nationally ranked freshmen class.

Reigning NCAA champion USC comes in third in the preseason Pac-12 coaches poll after winning the program’s second national championship last fall. USC is the lone Pac-12 program to win two NCAA titles and is one of only four programs nationally to have more than one women’s soccer title. The Trojans landed at No. 3 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason ranking behind only No. 2 Stanford and No. 1 West Virginia, which USC defeated 3-1 in the 2016 Women’s College Cup final. The squad will return All-Pac- 12 Second Team forward Alex Anthony and Pac-12 All-Freshman Team defender Julia Bingham.

California is slotted fourth in the Pac-12 coaches’ poll after finishing the 2016 season with a 13-5-3 record. The Golden Bears will return seven starters and a pair of NSCAA All-Region honorees, goalkeeper Emily Boyd and defender Haley Lukas, who contributed to the team’s 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. TopDrawerSoccer ranked the Bears’ recruiting class No. 3 in the nation as they welcome 11 newcomers for the 2017 season.

Utah is picked fifth in the Pac-12 preseason poll after breaking into last week’s United Soccer Coaches top-25 rankingsat No. 20. The Utes return eight starters from last year’s squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the first time in program history. Utah finished with its second-highest ranking (No. 16) and will compete against five top-12 nationally ranked teams this season.

COLORADO, which is No. 25 in the preseason national rankings, weighted in at sixth in the Pac-12 coaches poll, followed by WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE tied for seventh. ARIZONA is ninth, and OREGON is 10th, while ARIZONA STATE and OREGON STATE rounded out the poll in 11th and 12th, respectively.

2017 Pac-12 Women’s Soccer Coaches Poll

1. Stanford (10) 119
2. UCLA (1) 110
3. USC (1) 101
4. California 86
5. Utah 81
6. Colorado 74
7. Washington 48
  Washington State 48
9. Arizona 43
10. Oregon 40
11. Arizona State 22
12. Oregon State 20