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1. 2006 Women's Conference Previews
August 24th, 2006 8:35PM

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Soccer America continues its countdown the 2006 college season, which starts Friday for men and women, with a look at the 2006 NCAA Division I women's conferences.

ACC
Defending Champion: 
North Carolina. Preseason Poll: 1. North Carolina (No. 3 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Florida State (No. 4), 3. Virginia (No. 7), 4. Boston College (No. 10), Duke (No. 13),
Players to Watch: North Carolina is led by U.S. national team star Heather O'Reilly, the 2005 ACC Offensive Player of the Year and top goal scorer with 18. Florida State features senior India Trotter, who played with O'Reilly this summer for the U.S. national team. Other ACC players on the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team are goalie Ashley Phillips (Clemson), French defender Laura Georges (Boston College) and midfielder Rebecca Moros (Duke). Virginia features 2005 ACC Freshman of the Year Jess Rostedt (29 points).
Composite ACC Schedule

BIG EAST
Defending Champion:
Notre Dame. Preseason Poll: American -- 1. Connecticut (No. 12 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. West Virginia (No. 17), 3. Marquette (No. 16); National -- 1. Notre Dame (No. 6), 2. Rutgers, 3. Villanova.
Players to Watch: Notre Dame sophomore Keri Hanks (28 goals and 15 assists) was named Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Irish defender Christie Shaner received Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors. Three other Irish players were named to the preseason all-conference team: Brittany Bock, Jen Buczkowski and Amanda Cinalli. U.S. U-21 Brittany Taylor is part of UConn's outstanding sophomore class. Also back for the Huskies is junior midfielder Meghan Schnur. West Virginia underclassmen Ashley Banks and Amanda Cicchini were named to the Big East preseason team. Villanova's Jillian Loyden was last year's Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. Louisville forward Jamie Craft registered 11 goals as a junior.
Composite Big East Schedule

BIG TEN
Defending Champion:
Wisconsin. Preseason Poll: 1. Penn State (No. 8 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Illinois (No. 21), 3. Purdue.
Players to Watch: Penn State captain Ali Krieger, a 2005 All-American, is fully recovered after missing last year's NCAA Tournament with an injury. Sheree Gray, Allie Long and Krieger give the Lions one of the nation's best midfields. Ohio State's Swiss star, Lara Dickenmann, joined Krieger on the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Illinois welcomes back leading scorers Jessica Bayne (21 points) and Eva Strickland (16). Purdue's Jessica Okoroafo was last year's top Big Ten freshman. Kara Kabellis is Wisconsin's leading returning scorer from 2005.
Composite Big Ten Schedule

BIG 12
Defending Champion:
Texas A&M. Preseason Poll: 1. Texas A&M (No. 9 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Nebraska (No. 14), 3. Texas (No. 15).
Players to Watch: Nebraska's Brittany Timko, Texas A&M's Ashlee Pistorius and Kansas defender Holly Gault were named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Texas defender Kasey Moore was the 2005 Big 12 Rookie of the Year. Other players on the Big 12 preseason all-conference team were goalkeepers Jamie Klages (Nebraska) and Dianna Pfenninger (Texas), defenders Stephanie Logterman (Texas) and Paige Carmichael (Texas A&M), midfielders Caitlyn Kennedy (Texas), Amy Berend (Texas A&M) and Yolanda Odenyo (Oklahoma State) and forward Katie Griffin (Colorado).
Composite Big 12 Schedule

BIG WEST
Defending Champion:
Cal State Fullerton. Preseason Poll: 1. Long Beach State, 2. Cal State Fullerton, 3. UC Santa Barbara.
Players to Watch: Sophomores Kim Silos and Hayley Bolt lead the Long Beach State attack. Two-time Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Karen Bardsley is one of only four returning starters at Cal State Fullerton. UCSB is counting on having midfielder Kristyn Bright, a two-time All-Big West selection, back at full strength after sitting out the 2005 season. UC Riverside's Tawny Poggio should break the all-time Big West record for saves in 2006.
Composite Big West Schedule

CONFERENCE USA
Defending Champion: Rice. Preseason Poll: 1. SMU, 2. Central Florida, 3. Rice.
Players to Watch:  Houston senior Sophia Mundy was named the C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and Rice junior defender Beth Martin was chosen as the C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. SMU returns Kimber Bailey (16 goals and nine assists), as well as preseason all-conference picks Ashley Gunter and Carley Phillips to anchor the defense. Roberta Pelargio will guide the UCF offensive attack. Memphis returns 2005 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Shoko Mikami. UTEP is led by juniors Brittany Popoff and Jami Tullius. UAB junior Jill Porto tallied four game-winning goals last season.
Composite Conference-USA Schedule

IVY LEAGUE
Defending Champion:
Yale. Preseason Poll: None.
Players to Watch: Yale features All-American Christina Huang and Crysti Howser, the 2005 Ivy League Freshman of the Year. Princeton's Diane Matheson, a Canada international and Soccer America Preseason All-American pick, again leads Princeton. Dartmouth's Sarah Johnson (nine goals and seven assists in 2005) is the only other returning All-Ivy first-team pick.
Composite Ivy League Schedule

MOUNTAIN WEST
Defending Champion:
UNLV. Preseason Poll: 1. BYU, 2. Utah, 3. San Diego State.
Players to Watch: BYU returns all-MWC first-team selection Katie Larkin and second-team selection Bobbi Tillotson. Utah's Amanda Feigt garnered 2005 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors, while teammates Melissa Wayma was the Defensive Player of the Year and Adele Letro was Freshman of the Year. Senior Tanya Roberts was a 2005 All-Mountain West pick for UNLV.
Composite Mountain West Schedule

PAC-10
Defending Champion:
UCLA. Preseason Poll: 1. UCLA (No. 1 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. California (No. 18), 3. Stanford (No. 20), 4. USC (No. 22).
Players to Watch: UCLA is led by a pair of juniors Danesha Adams and Val Henderson, both named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Adams and Henderson are in Russia for the U-20 World Championship along with fellow Bruins Tina DiMartino, Erin Hardy and Lauren Cheney. Also in Russia is USC's Amy Rodriguez, last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and a Soccer America Preseason All-America selection, and Stanford freshman Kelley O'Hara. Cardinal Rachel Buehler joined Adams, Henderson and Rodriguez on the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Cal's Courtney Hooker is one of the young defenders in the country, while Englishwoman Jodie Taylor, a 2005 All-Pac-10 selection, leads the young Oregon State team.

SEC
Defending Champion: 
Tennessee. Preseason Poll: East -- 1. Tennessee (No. 11 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Florida (No. 24), 3. Georgia (No. 25), 4. Vanderbilt (No. 19); West -- 1. Mississippi, 2. Auburn, 3. LSU.
Players to Watch: Tennessee midfielder Ali Christoph and Vanderbilt goalkeeper Tyler Griffin were named to the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team. Mississippi's Jennifer Hance (seven goals) was the 2005 SEC Freshman of the Year. Also back are All-SEC picks Randi-Lynn Bruso (Georgia), Chrissy Strini (Mississippi), Ronda Brooks (Auburn) and Kim Perkins (Vanderbilt).
Composite SEC Schedule

WCC
Defending Champion:
Portland. Preseason Poll: 1. Portland (No. 2 in Soccer America Preseason Top 25), 2. Santa Clara (No. 5), 3. Gonzaga.
Players to Watch: Three Portland players are on the Soccer America Preseason All-American Team: Stephanie Lopez, Angie Woznuk and Megan Rapinoe. All have represented the USA at the senior national team level. Senior Marian Dalmy anchors the Santa Clara defense. The Broncos also return U.S. U-20s Amanda Poach and Jordan Angeli. Lindsey Redlin scored 12 goals for Pepperdine in 2005.
Composite WCC Schedule

OTHER PRESEASON FAVORITES:
America East: *Boston University.
Atlantic Sun: Kennesaw State.
Atlantic 10: *Saint Louis.
Big Sky: Northern Arizona.
Big South: *Liberty.
CAA: *VCU.
Horizon: *Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
MAAC: *Fairfield.
Mid-American: Central Michigan.
Mid-Continent: Oakland.
Missouri Valley: *Creighton.
Northeast: *Central Connecticut.
Ohio Valley: *Samford.
Patriot: Lehigh.
Southern: UNC Greensboro.
Southland: Stephen F. Austin.
Sun Belt: *North Texas.
SWAC: Eastern -- *Mississippi Valley State; Western -- Grambling State.
WAC: *Fresno State.
*Defending Champion


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