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
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
, 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
goalkeeper Meagan McCray
, Chioma Igwe
and 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