Aug. 13, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's soccer team has been picked to finish sixth in the West Coast Conference for the 2007 season according to a preseason vote of the league's head coaches.
Coming off of an NCAA Tounrnament quarterfinal appearance in 2006, the University of Portland was selected as the preseason favorite to take home the 2007 WCC regular season title. The Pilots received six first place votes to tally 48 overall points. San 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 with 22. The University of San Francisco (12) and Saint Mary's College (eight) round out the poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
The Bulldogs return six seniors for the 2007 campaign, including two-time All-WCC selection Lauren Zuckerman. Also returning for the Zags are a pair of conference honorable mention picks from the 2006 season - defender Nanda McCormick and forward/midfielder Christine Soma. Midfielder Taylor Hall and goalkeeper Jessie Thalman, both of which were named to the WCC All-Freshman team a year go, both return as well.
Gonzaga posted a 10-9-1 record during the 2006 campaign, including going 3-4-0 in league play to post a fifth place finish. The 10 wins marked the fourth consecutive year the Zags have finished with a winning record along with 10 or more wins.
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.
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 Poll1. Portland - 48 (6)2. Santa Clara - 44 (2)3. Pepperdine - 334. San Diego - 305. Loyola Marymount - 276. Gonzaga - 227. San Francisco - 128. Saint Mary's - 8
(First place votes)