July 28, 2004
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's soccer program has been picked as the favorite to win the West Coast Conference championship, according to a preseason poll selected by the league's coaches. The Broncos, who have captured three straight league titles and seven overall, received six first-place votes in the poll.
Portland collected the other two first-place votes, while Pepperdine, the only school other than Santa Clara and Portland to win the WCC crown, was selected third. Rounding out this year's poll is San Diego, Saint Mary's, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga and San Francisco.
After consecutive trips to the NCAA National Championship match in 2001 and 2002, the Broncos once again have their eyes set on the College Cup in 2004. Santa Clara will be led by seven seniors, including All-American and 2003 WCC Player of the Year, Leslie Osborne. Santa Clara will also welcome a top-15 recruiting class to the fold in the fall.
Portland will welcome back a familiar face in junior Christine Sinclair. The 2002 consensus National Player of the Year red-shirted last season in order to train with the Canadian National Team. Sinclair will team up with junior All-American midfielder Lindsey Huie to lead the Pilot attack.
Pepperdine has established itself as a national power over the past three seasons, finishing each campaign ranked in the top 20. The Waves return 20 letterwinners, including eight starters. In addition, the Waves return four of their top five scorers from a year ago. San Diego also returns a solid nucleus in 2004 with seven starters back from last season's NCAA Tournament team, while Saint Mary's will look to senior midfielders Jenny Barbera and Sarah Burgess to spark them in 2004. After advancing to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2002, Loyola Marymount looks for a return trip to the postseason behind a solid core of returners and the No. 19 recruiting class in the country. Gonzaga returns the top goal scorer in the conference in senior forward Annie Hawkins, while San Francisco returns its top five goal scorers from last season.
The complete release can be found by clicking here.
WCC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
|1.||Santa Clara (6)||48|