Aug. 11, 2010
PORTLAND, Ore. --- The Portland Pilots, who advanced to the Third Round of the 2009 NCAA playoffs, are ranked No. 19 in the NSCAA Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released earlier this week. Portland, which was also tabbed No. 23 in the College Soccer News preseason poll, is the only ranked team from the West Coast Conference.
Preseason training is still a week away for the Pilots, who open the regular season with the Portland Nike Invitational, set for Sept. 3-5 at Merlo Field. Washington, Evansville and Northern Illinois are in this year's field, with the Pilots kicking off their 2010 campaign against Northern Illinois on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7:00 p.m. UP will also face Oregon State in an exhibition match at Merlo Field on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Portland has 15 letterwinners and seven starters returning for the 2010 season as the Pilots will look to build upon their run through the 2009 NCAA Playoffs. All-WCC midfielder Collen Warner, who was drafted in the first round of the MLS Draft, is gone, but the Pilots have a plethora of weapons to rely on.
Senior midfielder and All-WCC First Team selection Jarad vanSchaik (six goals, eight assists) and senior forward Ryan Luke (seven goals, two assists) return, as does all-conference goalkeeper Austin Guerrero. Guerrero enters his senior season fourth in UP history in career saves per game (4.06), fifth in total saves (256), sixth in shutouts (16.0) and seventh in goals against average (1.17).
All-WCC junior defender Ryan Kawulok is also back, as is a solid sophomore class, which gained invaluable experience during UP's journey through the 2009 playoffs. Joining the squad are nine newcomers, who are expected to make an immediate impact.
Director of Soccer and head coach Bill Irwin, who directed Portland to a 12-6-5 overall record last fall, returns for his eighth season at the helm of the Pilots and his 24th year overall on The Bluff.
2010 NSCAA PRESEASON COACHES' POLL
3. Wake Forest
4. North Carolina
8. UC Santa Barbara
12. Boston College
16. South Florida
17. St. John's
18. Ohio State
23. North Carolina-Wilmington
24. Michigan State
25. UC Irvine
Courtesy of UP Sports Information