Portland edged Santa Clara as the preseason favorite to take home the 2007 West Coast Conference women's 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 points and received two first-place votes.
The Broncos are followed in the poll by Pepperdine, San Diego, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, San Francisco and Saint Mary's.
Portland returns 14 letterwinners from last season's 17-4-3 team, including its 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 will led by senior All-American Stephanie Lopez when she rejoins the Pilots after the 2007 Women's World Cup, which will be held in five Chinese cities 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.
Up top, Coach Jerry Smith will count on 2006 leading scorer Meagan Snell, sophomores Kiki Bosio and Lexi Orand, freshman Jessie Baddley and senior Tina Estrada, who missed 2006 with a knee injury. Other key returnees include All-WCC senior Brittany Klein, All-WCC goalkeeper Meagan McCray, Chioma Igweand Hayley Siegel. 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.
NEW IN 2007. Loyola Marymount, under first-year coach Joe Malia, looks to make its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament after earning an at-large bid last season. USF looks to rebuild under first-year coach Mark Carr.