Aug. 13, 2008
SAN BRUNO, CA - Coming off of its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament quarterfinal appearance, the University of Portland was selected as the preseason favorite to take home the 2008 West Coast Conference regular season title, as voted on by the conference's head coaches. The Pilots, who return five starters from last year's squad, received seven first place votes to tally 49 overall points. This marks the fourth straight year that the Pilots have been selected as the WCC preseason favorite.
Santa Clara University was selected second with 42 total points, and received one first place vote. The Broncos are followed in the poll by the University of San Diego (37), which advanced to the 2007 NCAA Tournament, and by Loyola Marymount University (30), which narrowly missed postseason play after posting a 12-6-1 record last season. Selected fifth was Pepperdine University, which tallied 24 points, followed by Gonzaga University with 22 points. The University of San Francisco (11) and Saint Mary's College (9) round out this year's preseason poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Portland returns 14 letterwinners from last season's 18-4-0 team, including three of its top four goal scorers from 2007. The Pilots will be led by All-American Michelle Enyeart (12 g, 15 a), Sophie Schmidt (7 g, 7 a), a member of the Canadian Olympic team, and Keelin Winters, the 2007 WCC Freshman of the Year. Adding to the Pilots' firepower will be Megan and Rachael Rapinoe, both of whom are expected to be significant contributors after suffering season-ending knee injuries last season. Megan earned second team All-American honors in 2005, while Rachael was a second team All-WCC member in 2006.
Santa Clara returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's squad, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 19th consecutive year. The Broncos also welcome in the 12th best recruiting class in the country, according to Soccer Buzz.
San Diego is coming off of a record-setting season, which saw the Toreros' establish program bests in overall record (15-3-3), WCC record (5-1-1), and national ranking (No. 9). The Toreros return eight starters and 17 letterwinners overall, including first team All-WCC selection Amy Epsten, the program's all-time leader in goals (30). The Waves, who are seeking their sixth NCAA Tournament bid in the last eight seasons, return eight starters and 14 letterwinners overall, while Loyola Marymount, which narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament last season, returns arguably the most experienced squad in the WCC with nine starters back and 23 letterwinners returning overall. Gonzaga, picked sixth, produced a 12-7-1 record in 2007, equaling the school record for wins in a season set by the 2005 team, and recording its fifth consecutive 10-win season. The Dons, selected seventh, look to rebuild under Head Coach Mark Carr, while Saint Mary's returns 10 starters and 18 letterwinners overall.
Women's Soccer 2008 Preseason Poll
1. Portland - 49 (7)
2. Santa Clara - 42 (1)
3. San Diego - 37
4. Loyola Marymount - 30
5. Pepperdine - 24
6. Gonzaga - 22
7. San Francisco - 11
(First place votes)