SAN FRANCISCO – Pac-12 coaches predict a third-place finish for the Golden Bears this season, the conference office announced Tuesday. In a repeat of last year’s preseason coaches poll results, league coaches voted defending conference and national champion UCLA as the favorite to win the conference crown, followed by Stanford as the runner-up.
Cal received 91 points to place third in the preseason poll for the third consecutive year, while UCLA received 11 first-place votes for 121 total points and Stanford had one first-place vote and 110 points. USC (No. 4), Colorado (5) and Washington State (6) round out the upper half of the conference, followed by Utah (7), Arizona State (8), Washington (9), Arizona (10), Oregon (11) and Oregon State (12).
“After losing so many seniors who had played so many minutes, we’re honored to be considered as one of the top teams in the conference,” said head coach Neil McGuire. “When it boils down to it, there’s a lot of talent top to bottom in this program and we’ll just have to do our best in every match.”
Though Cal lost a senior class that included more than half of a veteran starting lineup, the Bears return 20 players. Leadership from experienced players such as Taylor Comeau, Kory Lamet, Grace Leer, Ifeoma Onumonu and Samantha Witteman will help guide the team’s 12 newcomers from the 2013 recruiting class, which was heralded as one of the nation’s top five classes by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Last season, Cal advanced to the NCAA Women’S Soccer Tournament for the 10th-straight year, finishing 2013 with an 11-5-5 record.
The 2014 Pac-12 women’s soccer season is set to kick off Aug. 22 with all 12 teams in action, including Cal at 5 p.m. vs. San Francisco on Goldman Field. This year, the league will receive unprecedented coverage with 69 games set to be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks. Nine of Cal’s games will air on the Pac-12 Networks.
2014 Pac-12 Women’s Soccer Coaches Poll
1. UCLA (11) 121
2. Stanford (1) 110
3. California 91
4. USC 83
5. Colorado 78
6. Washington State 69
7. Utah 67
T8. Arizona State 51
T8. Washington 51
10. Arizona 33
11. Oregon 22
12. Oregon State 16
Parentheses indicate first-place votes.