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Portland Picked Preseason Favorite

Aug. 13, 2007

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SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Coming off of an NCAA Tournament quarterfinal appearance in 2006, the University of Portland was selected as the preseason favorite to take home the 2007 West Coast Conference regular season title, as voted on by the conference's head coaches. The Pilots, who return nine starters from last year's squad, received six first place votes to tally 48 overall points. Santa Clara University was selected second with 44 total points, and received two first place votes. The Broncos are followed in the poll by Pepperdine University (33) and the University of San Diego (30). Selected fifth was Loyola Marymount University, which tallied 27 points, followed by Gonzaga University with 22 points. The University of San Francisco (12) and Saint Mary's College (8) round out this year's preseason poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

Portland returns 14 letterwinners from last season's 17-4-3 team, including the Pilots top six goal scorers. The Pilots will be led by All-Americans Angie Woznuk and Megan Rapinoe, while Michelle Enyeart emerged as one of the top freshmen in the country last season, leading the Pilots with 16 goals. Defensively, the Pilots, led by senior All-American Stephanie Lopez, should be among the best in the nation. Lopez is currently starting for the U.S. Women's National Team and is not expected to join the Pilots until after the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will be held in five Chinese cities from Sept. 10-30.

Santa Clara returns 10 starters and 22 letterwinners from last season's squad which garnered a No. 1 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament and captured the school's ninth WCC title. The Broncos also welcome in the sixth best recruiting class in the country, according to Soccer Buzz.

Pepperdine, which finished third last season, was selected to repeat its third place performance in 2007. The Waves will be seeking their sixth NCAA Tournament bid in the last seven seasons. San Diego, picked fourth, welcomes back 18 letterwinners and eight starters from last season's team that posted a 12-8-0 record and just missed making a return to the NCAA postseason. Loyola Marymount, under first-year Head Coach Joe Malia, looks to make their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid last season, while Gonzaga looks to build on last season's 10-9-1 overall record. The Dons, selected seventh, look to rebuild under first-year Head Coach Mark Carr, while Saint Mary's returns 13 letterwinners and seven starters in 2007.

Women's Soccer 2007 Preseason Poll
1. Portland - 48 (6)
2. Santa Clara - 44 (2)
3. Pepperdine - 33
4. San Diego - 30
5. Loyola Marymount - 27
6. Gonzaga - 22
7. San Francisco - 12
8. Saint Mary's - 8