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Outsiders will give top teams plenty of trouble
August 30th, 2007 8:30AM
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TAGS:  college women


21. USC.  The Women of Troy knocked off top-seed Santa Clara in one of the greatest upsets in the history of the NCAA Women's Tournament, but that wasn't enough to prevent Jim Millinder from being pushed out as head coach.

Cal State Fullerton's Ali Khosroshahin inherits a deep squad built around a junior class that was two years ago one of the best freshman groups in the country. Former U.S. U-19 star Amy Rodriguez was the top gun in the 2005 incoming class and leads the USC attack. Fellow junior Nini Loucks and senior Lauren Brown -- both 2006 All-Pac-10 honorable mention recipients -- matched Rodriguez with four goals apiece last season.

USC's strength, though, is its defense that notched 14 shutouts -- including six in a row -- in 2006.  Back are senior Laura McKee and juniors Meagan Holmes and Janessa Currier.

22. BYU. BYU soccer is one of the country's best draws.  The Cougars are consistently in the top 10 in attendance, including last year's average of 2,070 and a total of 20,696 in 10 matches.

BYU fans will have lots to cheer about in 2007. The Cougars return 10 starters, including All-American forward Katie Larkin and first-team all-conference goalkeeper Erika Woodbury.

23. PURDUE. The Boilermakers are returning the most experienced roster in their 10-year history. Eight seniors are projected to start alongside veteran forwards Sylvia Forbes and Jessica Okoroafo, leaving only the goalkeeper position up for grabs.

Forbes, Okoroafo and returning first-team All-Big Ten selection Parrissa Eyorokon give Purdue speed and power to rival any team in the Big Ten.

Forbes possesses one of the team's hardest shots, while Eyorokon is adept at eluding defenders and making the tough shot or pass. Okoroafo's developed skill set has resulted in consecutive invitations to train with the U.S. national U-19 and U-20 teams.

24. DUKE. The Blue Devils, picked to finish fifth in the ACC. Devils, return seven starters, including their top two scorers from last season -- KayAnne Gummersall (seven goals and two assists) and Elisabeth Redmond (three goals and seven assists).

Also back is one of the top goalkeepers in the nation, Allison Lipsher.  She owns 26 shutouts over the last three years, fifth on the ACC career charts.

25. LONG BEACH STATE. The 49ers are coming off their best season in school history at 14-5-1 and return nine starters to challenge for supremacy in the tough Big West Conference.

Key players for LBSU will be two Big West post-season honorees, Midfielder of the Year Hayley Bolt and Offensive Player of the Year Kim Silos.

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