WOMEN'S NEWS ...The Soccer America Women's Preseason All-Americans were released today. Heading the team is Casey Nogueira, the 2008 Soccer America Women's Player of the Year and one of three North Carolina seniors on the Preseason All-American first team along with Whitney Engen and Tobin Heath. Florida State, Notre Dame and UCLA are the only teams with two players named to the first and second teams.
Of note, seven of the Preseason All-Americans missed the 2008 postseason because they were with the U.S. under-20 national team that won last year's world championship in Chile. UConn's Brittany Taylor, a first-team preseason selection, was injured and missed the entire season.
* No women's coach is more excited than Portland's Garrett Smith that there will be no international championships during the 2009 postseason. Just about every major program lost at least one player during the NCAA Tournament to the U.S. U-20s. The Pilots, whose record 19-game winning streak ended when they fell to Stanford in the quarterfinals, were without three starters -- Elli Reed, Keelin Winters and Michelle Enyeart. Throughout her career, Sophie Schmidt has missed time to represent various Canadian teams. When you consider that Reed, Winters, Enyeart and Schmidt will be available all fall, that Kendra Chandhoke returns after redshirting last season, and U-17 defender Cloee Colohan joins the backline that returns everyone, Portland will be as deep as any team in the country. "We are going to have players on the bench this year that would start in most years," Smith told the Oregonian. "It's a talented group."
* Florida is picked to repeat as SEC champion for the fourth consecutive year in the preseason poll released today. The Gators return eight starters, including All-SEC performers Ashlee Elliottand Lauren Hyde, from last season's squad that went 11-0-0 in league play. Florida is also picked to win the East, ahead of Georgia. In the West, LSU was first, ahead of Auburn.