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Depth in numbers
August 21st, 2008 8:45AM

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6. Stanford (15-3-5).
Last year: The Cardinal reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
This year: Pac-10 coaches picked Stanford, not USC, the defending national champion, nor UCLA, the five-time conference champion, to win the conference title. The Cardinal has plenty of international experience. Junior Ali Riley, who played every minute for New Zealand's Football Ferns at the 2008 Beijing Games, should be in action on Sunday when the Cardinal opens against Pacific. Senior Marissa Abegg played for the U.S. U-23s at the Nordic Cup. Junior Kelley O'Hara, who starred for the U.S. U-20s in World Cup qualifying, and 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Christen Press lead the attack. Freshman Teresa Noyola is considered one of the top midfielders to come out of the youth ranks in the recent years.

First Three Weeks
8/24 Pacific
8/29 Navy
8/31 Boston College
9/5 Auburn  (Georgia Nike Invitational)
9/7 at Georgia (Georgia Nike Invitational)
Schedule

7. Virginia (13-4-5).
Last year: Steve Swanson's Cavs earned their seventh trip to the NCAA round of 16 in the past nine years. Virginia led the nation with a 0.40 goals-against average and set school records with 15 shutouts and 10 goals allowed all season.
This year: With the return of nine starters, led by defender Nikki Krzysik, the Cavs begin the season with one of their most experienced teams ever. Their 2-1 win over Notre Dame in preseason action has the Charlottesville faithful thinking final four. "Overall, we have a lot of experience returning in some important positions on the field," said Swanson. Also back is Sinead Farrelly, the first Cav to win all-ACC honors as a freshman in more than a decade. Other returnees include Jen Redmond and Kelly Quinn, both three-year starters, and Jess Rostedt, giving Virginia one of the nation's top midfields. Up front, junior Caitlin Miskel is coming off a solid spring and Lauren Alwine is Virginia's top recruit.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Loyola (Md.)
8/29 Liberty
8/31 VCU
9/5 at Georgia (Georgia Nike Invitational)
9/7 Auburn (Georgia Nike Invitational)
Schedule

8. Portland (18-4-0).
Last year: The Pilots won the WCC title and led the nation in average attendance for the third straight year, establishing new school record with an average of 3,771 fans at 10 home matches.
This year: Gone are U.S. internationals Stephanie (Lopez) Cox and Angie Woznuk and four other starters, but UP returns three of its top four goal scorers from 2007. The Pilots will be led by junior Michelle Enyeart (12 goals, 15 assists), Canadian Olympian Sophie Schmidt (7 goals, 7 assists) and Keelin Winters, the 2007 WCC Freshman of the Year. Enyeart, Winters and midfielder Elli Reed played on the U.S. team that qualified for the Under-20 Women's World Cup. Adding to the Pilots' firepower will be twins Megan and Rachael Rapinoe, both of whom are expected to be significant contributors in their last seasons after suffering season-ending knee injuries in 2007.

First Three Weeks
8/23 Oregon
8/30 UCLA
9/1 USC
9/5 Kennesaw State (Husky/Nike Invitational)
9/7 Colgate (Husky/Nike Invitational)
Schedule

9. Penn State (18-4-2)
Last year: In her first season as head coach, Erica Walsh led the Nittany Lions to their 10th-straight Big Ten championship and 13th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in just 14 years of existence
This year: Walsh, who served as an assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic women's team, returns a pair of All-Americans in junior goalie Alyssa Naeher and junior forward Katie Schoepfer (15 goals). Seniors Zoe Bouchelle and Jessie Davis give the Lions experience in midfield and on defense, respectively. Walsh's recruits include a pair of Englishwomen, Emma Thomson of the Doncaster Rovers Belles and Nikki Watts.

First Three Weeks
8/23 at William & Mary
8/29 Florida State (PSU Tournament)
8/31 Hofstra (PSU Tournament)
9/5 at Rutgers
9/7 Bucknell
Schedule

10. West Virginia (18-5-2).
Last year: West Virginia enjoyed the best season in its history, winning its first Big East championship and reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
This year: The Mountaineers boast eight seniors, including three All-Americans -- Amanda Cicchini, Greer Barnes and Deana Everrett. "I'm counting on our seniors to take the recent success of the program and carry on with that tradition," says Nikki Izzo-Brown, entering her 13th season at the helm of WVU women's soccer. Junior Carolyn Blank was also named to the All-Big East Preseason Team.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Towson
8/29 Santa Clara (Inn at Saint Mary's Classic)
8/31 Loyola Marymount (Inn at Saint Mary's Classic)
9/5 Tennessee (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
9/7 Washington State (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
Schedule

11. Texas (16-4-5).
Last year: The Longhorns won their second straight Big 12 champion and
This year: UT returns eight starters, led by senior defenders Kasey Moore, just the second player in Texas history to earn back-to-back All-American honors, and Stephanie Logterman, who was a 2007 All-Big 12 pick despite suffering a season-ending knee injury halfway through last season. Sophomore Niki Arlitt (10 goals) will lead the attack.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Samford
8/28 at Kentucky
8/31 at Louisville
9/5 UT-San Antonio
9/7 Arizona
Schedule

12. Santa Clara (12-6-3).
Last year:  The Broncos slumped to their worst record in Jerry Smith's 21 years as head coach and finished third in the WCC. Perhaps no major program has ever suffered such a rash of injuries. Four players were lost for the season before it start -- Jordan Angeli and Amanda Poach with ACL knee injuries and Dani Potts and Chelsea Bednarz with foot injuries -- and Hayley Siegel played one game before tearing her ACL and being lost for the season,
This year: In addition to the five injury redshirts, Smith will be able to count on All-WCC pick Kiki Bosio and Katherine Reynolds up front and Megan McCray in goal.

First Three Weeks
8/22 at San Jose State
8/29 West Virginia
8/31 at Notre Dame
9/5 USC
9/7 at Cal State Fullerton
Schedule

13. Tennessee (15-5-2).
Last year: The Vols got off to their best start in program history when they went 7-1-1 and went on to earn a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they reached the final 16.
This year: UT brings back eight starters, including the 2007 SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kylee Rossi and goalkeeper Jaimel Johnson, a third-team All-American selection.

First Three Weeks
8/22 at Chattanooga
8/29 Indiana (Texas A&M Tournament)
8/31 North Carolina (Texas A&M Tournament)
9/5 West Virginia (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
9/7 Illinois (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
Schedule
 
14. Duke (10-6-7).
Last year: The Blue Devils were only .500 in ACC play but they made a strong run in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals before falling to Notre Dame.
This year: Duke, which returns 9 of 11 starters, boasts one of its most experienced squads under Coach Robbie Church. The Blue Devils will feature some of the best depth they have had in a long time at every position. Among the other returning starters are leading scorer Elisabeth Redmond and All-America Lorraine Quinn. Freshmen Emily Nahas and Sonja Sahlsten and senior Cassidy Powers have been battling for the vacant goalkeeping job.

First Three Weeks
8/24 Coastal Carolina 
8/29 Campbell
8/31 UNC Greensboro
9/5 Kentucky (Nike/Carolina Classic)
9/7 Notre Dame (Nike/Carolina Classic)
Schedule

15. Connecticut (14-6-2).
Last year: The Huskies one of three Big East teams to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
This year: UConn, one of only two teams that has been to every NCAA Women's Tournament since the tournament's inception in 1982, will be led by a pair of seniors, Canadian Olympian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe and forward Elizabeth Eng. A big loss is defender Brittany Taylor, who will be recuperating from ACL surgery and will most likely sit out the season.

First Three Weeks
8/25 Central Conn. State   
8/29 Hofstra (Penn State Tournament)   
8/31 Florida State (Penn State Tournament)
9/5 Yale
9/7 Boston Univ.
Schedule

16. Boston College (11-5-4).
Last year: BC went only 4-4-2 in the ACC but advanced to its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament.
This year: The Eagles return 10 starters, led by senior Sarah Buonomo, who led the nation in goals-against-average (0.38) and save percentage (.901). Other top players are sophomore defender Hannah Cerrone and junior midfielder Gina DiMartino. Another excellent recruiting class is led by two Parade All-Americans, defender Alyssa Pember and goalkeeper Jill Mastroianni.

First Three Weeks
8/23 at Boston University
8/29 Oregon State (at Stanford)
8/31 at Stanford
9/5 Brown
9/7 Toledo
Schedule

17. Illinois (12-7-2).
Last year: The Fighting Illini finished third in the Big East behind Penn State and Purdue and lost to Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
This year: Canadian Olympian Emily Zurrer and sophomore Danielle Kot give Illinois one of the best pair of center backs in the country. Seniors Jackie Santacaterina and Marti Desjarlais will lead an experienced midfield, while senior Jessica Levitt and junior Chichi Nweke reassume their starting roles up front. The concerns for Coach Janet Rayfield are at the outside back positions and in goal.

First Three Weeks
8/23 at Missouri
8/29 Iowa State (Illini Challenge Cup)
8/31 Pittsburgh or Dayton (Illini Challenge Cup)
9/5 Washington State (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
9/7 at Tennessee (First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic)
Schedule

18. Wake Forest (13-7-3).
Last year: Wake advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
This year: Junior defender Kaley Fountain, a member of the U.S. team that qualified for the 2008 U-20 Women's World Cup, leads eight returning starters. Senior Amanda Lebo and juniors Sarah Winslow and Jill Hutchinson all had multiple-goal games for the Deacs in a pair of big preseason wins.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Utah
8/29 at Francis Marion
8/31 UNC Wilmington
9/5 George Washington (Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational)
9/7 Texas A&M (Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational)
Schedule

19. California (15-5-1).
Last year: Cal tied for third in the Pac-10 in Coach Neil McGuire's first year in Berkeley. The Golden Bears advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on the momentum of a 7-0-1 record over the final eight games.
This year: Top scorers Alex Morgan, a forward on the U.S. under-20 national team, and Valerie Barnes will lead the Cal attack. McGuire, who must replace the entire midfield, recruited Icelandic national team midfielder Katrin Omarsdottir.

First Three Weeks
8/24 at San Jose State
8/29 Cal State Fullerton (Cal Invitational)
8/31 Saint Joseph's (Cal Invitational)
9/7 Missouri
Schedule

20. Texas A&M (19-4-2)
Last year:  A&M captured its fourth straight Big 12 regular-season title but fell to Texas in both the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
This year: The Aggies lost five starters, including all-tie leading scorer Ashlee Pistorius, so Coach G Guerrieri has his work ahead of him. A big plus is the return of U.S. U-20 Kristin Arnold in goal. The key first-year player should be Saint Louis transfer Alyssa Mautz, who should lead the attack.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Rhode Island
8/24 McNeese State
8/29 North Carolina
8/31 Indiana
9/5 at Virginia Tech (Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational)
9/7 Wake Forest (Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational)
Schedule

21. Georgia (18-4-2).
Last year: The Bulldogs won a school record 18 games and finished second in the SEC behind Florida.
This year: Nine starters are back, led by junior forward Carrie Patterson, who has recorded 12 and 13 goals in her first two seasons, and sophomore defender Kelli Corless, who is on probation after being arrested twice in the offseason on alcohol-related charges.

First Three Weeks
8/22 Mercer
8/29 at BYU
8/31 Utah
9/5 Virginia (Georgia Nike Invitational)
97 Stanford (Georgia Nike Invitational)
Schedule

22. Oklahoma State (14-6-3).
Last year: The Cowgirls advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.
This year: OSU returns nine starters from last season's team, including its top three leading scorers in senior All-American Yolanda Odenyo, who was granted another year of eligibility, and juniors Kasey Langdon and Siera Strawser.

First Three Weeks
8/23 at SMU
8/29 at Oral Roberts
9/5 Rice
9/7 Northwestern State
Schedule

23. Florida (17-5-3).
Last year: The Gators got hot in the second half of the season, winning 14 straight games (including the SEC final and a NCAA Tournament game against UCF on penalty kicks) before falling to eventual national champion USC.
This year: Graduation losses hit Florida hard -- six starters were lost -- but defender Lauren Hyde and midfielders Ashlee Elliott and Ameera Abdullah give the Gators a solid nucleus.

First Three Weeks
8/22 at Colorado
8/24 at Florida Atlantic
8/29 UCF
8/31 Nebraska
9/7 at Florida State
Schedule

24. San Diego (15-3-3).
Last year:  USD enjoyed a record-setting season, finishing second in the WCC.
This year: The Toreros return eight starters including first-team All-WCC selection Amy Epsten, the program's all-time leader in goals (30). A key to USD's 2007 success was the play of goalkeeper Brittany Cameron, who had a break-out season, helping guide the Toreros to a program-best 11 consecutive shutouts.

First Three Weeks
8/22 USC
8/29 at UC Santa Barbara
8/31 UC Irvine
9/5 Northwestern (Pepperdine Nike Challenge)
9/7 Iowa (Pepperdine Nike Challenge)
Schedule

T25. William & Mary (15-5-2).

Last year: William & Mary was one of three CAA teams to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 
This year: The Tribe returns nine starters, led by a pair of All-Americans -- senior forward Claire Zimmeck, who scored a league-high 17 goals and earned her second straight CAA Player of the Year honor last season, and senior midfielder Dani Collins.
Senior goalkeeper Meghan Walker and sophomore defender Kaitlin O'Connor will lead the defense.

First Three Weeks
8/23 Penn State
8/29 Syracuse (JMU/Comfort Inn Harrisonburg Invitational)
8/31 Washington State (JMU/Comfort Inn Harrisonburg Invitational)
9/4 BYU
9/7 Columbia 
Schedule

T25. Missouri (13-8-1)
Last year: Missouri reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing in double overtime to eventual champion USC.
This year: Juniors Kristin Andrighetto (14 goals, 9 assists) and Meghan Pfeiffer and senior Mo Redmond, all All-Big 12 preseason selections are among 10 starters whom Coach Bryan Blitz welcomed back.

First Three Weeks
8/23  Illinois
8/29 Auburn
9/5 at UC Davis
9/7 at California
Schedule



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