DENVER— Seattle U was selected as the favorite to win the 2014 Western Athletic Conference women’s soccer title as determined by a vote of the league’s eight head coaches. The 2014 WAC preseason all-conference women’s soccer team and preseason Players of the Year were also announced as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
Seattle U was selected first in the poll as the team received seven first place votes for 49 total points. The Redhawks return six of their 11 starters from a team that went 17-3-2 in 2013 and finished first in WAC play with a perfect 12-0-0 record. The team also claimed the WAC Tournament title and made it’s first-ever appearance at the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Utah Valley ranks second in the poll, receiving 41 points with a first place vote. The Wolverines placed third in WAC play last season with a 7-4-1 record. Missouri-Kansas City received 35 points to place third in the preseason poll. The ‘Roos went 8-4-0 in league play last season and placed second in the regular season standings. UMKC dropped a 2-0 decision to Seattle U in the WAC Tournament championship match in 2013.
Bakersfield ranks fourth in the poll with 29 points after finishing fifth in the WAC last year with a 3-8-1 mark. Grand Canyon is fifth after receiving 24 points. GCU placed fourth in the WAC last season with a 4-7-1 record. New Mexico State was picked sixth with 21 points after placing seventh in the WAC last season with a 2-9-1 record. Texas-Pan American and Chicago State were selected seventh and eighth, respectively. UTPA and CSU enter their inaugural seasons as women’s soccer programs this year.
Seattle U junior forward Stephanie Verdoia garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Utah Valley’s Lexi Robison (Sr., D) was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Verdoia, a first team all-WAC honoree the past two seasons, led the Redhawks with 15 goals, 12 assists, 42 points and 86 shots in 2013. She was also named the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Year last year and earned NSCAA second team all-Pacific region honors. She also earned WAC All-Tournament team honors in 2013.
Robison played a major role on the Wolverine’s backline last season, limiting WAC opponents to 17 goals on the season. She also helped out offensively, recording two goals and two assists for six points.
Seattle U led WAC teams with five preseason all-conference selections. UMKC and Utah Valley each had two honorees, while Bakersfield and New Mexico State each had one representative.
The 2014 WAC season is set to kickoff Aug. 22 with all eight of the WAC's teams in action. The WAC Soccer Tournament heads to Seattle U’s Championship Field in Seattle, Wash. The six-team tournament will be held November 6-7 and 9.
Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Place||Team (first place votes)||Points|
|1.||Seattle U (7)||49|
|2.||Utah Valley (1)||41|
|6.||New Mexico State||21|
Preseason All-WAC Team
|Layla Todd||Sr.||F||New Mexico State|
|Stephanie Verdoia||Sr.||F||Seattle U|
|Kali Stubbs||Jr.||F||Utah Valley|
|Alyssa Elver||Sr.||MF||Missouri-Kansas City|
|Natasha Howe||So.||MF||Seattle U|
|Jacqui Wallis||Jr.||MF||Seattle U|
|Sarah Todd||Sr.||D||Missouri-Kansas City|
|Kelly Beck||Jr.||D||Seattle U|
|Lexi Robison||Sr.||D||Utah Valley|
Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Stephanie Verdoia, Sr., F, Seattle U
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Lexi Robison, Sr., D, Utah Valley