Pac-12 Women’s Soccer 2015 Preview
Pac-12 2014 Honors
Player of the Year: Sam Mewis, UCLA
Defensive Player of the Year: Abby Dahlkemper, UCLA
Goalkeeper of the Year: Katelyn Rowland, UCLA
Freshman of the Year: Andi Sullivan, Stanford
Coach of the Year: Amanda Cromwell, UCLA
Team (2014 overall, conference record)
UCLA (21-1-2, 10-0-1)
The UCLA Bruins continue their quest to conquer the world in 2015 with a roster that almost seems like a slight disappointment in comparison to previous years and the recruiting classes to come. The Mallory Pugh and Jessie Fleming show starts in 2016. In the meantime, Amanda Cromwell and her coaching staff are sculpting a group that will compete for another Pac-12 title and make a run at the national crown as well - albeit without the heavy hitters from the 2014 side that destroyed the will to compete for some opponents. In the wake of that stellar squad, the Bruins have some new faces looking to grab the spotlight. Midfielder Annie Alvarado had an impressive spring and was one of the best players for the Bruins in the scrimmage against the U20 Women’s National Team. Alvarado will pull the strings from the center of the field and keep that beautiful Bruins style of play rolling this fall. Taylor Smith leads the line up front, where she'll be joined by Kodi Lavrusky, Darian Jenkins and North Carolina transfer Amber Munerlyn.
Stanford (20-2-3, 9-1-1)
Stanford enters 2015 as the preseason favorite in the Pac-12 after the coaches tabbed the Cardinal over the Bruins. Stanford is a bit of an unusual position though. The Cardinal is working with a small roster in 2015 and counting on a strong recruiting class to provide quite a bit early on in their collegiate careers. It could work out swimmingly as this is a talented group and head coach Paul Ratcliffe does get the most out of his players. Stanford certainly isn’t lacking for quality, with Andi Sullivan anchoring the midfield, Jane Campbell in goal and Maddie Bauer an experienced center back. As long as they stay fit, the Cardinal should be able to deal with the target on the back as the preseason favorite.
Colorado (14-7-1, 6-4-1)
Colorado finished third in the Pac-12 in 2014. It was another surprising year of success for head coach Danny Sanchez and his program. However, the surprise has worn off a bit and now it’s an expectation that this team will be in the mix in the conference and the NCAA Tournament. Colorado has a number of holes to fill for this season. Only five starters are back with the defense taking the majority of the blow as three starters are gone from a team that only gave up 17 goals last season. Look for Danica Evans, who transferred away from Portland to play close to home, to play a big role offensively alongside Brie Hooks.
USC (12-6-3, 6-5)
There is plenty to discuss with USC in 2015. Former U.S. youth national team standout Morgan Andrews joined the program, which was one of the top transfers of the offseason. Andrews isn’t the only new piece to the puzzle. USC brought in Swedish forward Olga Langenskiöld and handed her the No. 9 jersey as a freshman. The direction of the program has the other coaches in the Pac-12 taking notice. USC was predicted to finish third in the conference. The coaching staff is likely dreaming bigger than a third place finish.
California (14-6-2, 5-4-2)
California was also selected to finish third in the preseason vote from the Pac-12 coaches. The Golden Bears return a big squad from last year with 24 players back in the program. California’s small recruiting class of four will add some punch. Plus the transfer of Emma Fletcher should bring a new level to the midfield. However, the success of this program will be on the continuity of the squad from last year with so many returners back, including rising sophomores Annia Mejia and goalkeeper EmilyBoyd.
Washington State (10-5-4, 5-4-2)
It’s nice to take a moment and appreciate Washington State being listed ahead of Washington in the conference preview. The beautiful shine may wear off quickly though. The Cougs have a new coach in charge after Steve Nugent suddenly resigned in March. Todd Shulenberger is in charge now after spending the last two seasons as the associate head coach at Texas Tech. Shulenberger inherits a roster with six returning starters but no one who scored more than three goals.
Washington (14-7-2, 5-4-2)
The Huskies had a successful 2014 season that ended in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament in a loss to conference rival Stanford. The Washington program is optimistic about the growth of the squad after that postseason run. Washington returns nine starters from last year’s team. Senior goalkeeper Megan Kufeld is one to watch this fall.
Arizona State (12-6-4, 4-4-3)
Arizona State holds the distinct honor as the only team to take a point of UCLA during the regular season last year. The draw did not push the team to a storybook run, but it was an important part of getting the Sun Devils into the NCAA Tournament. The Sun Devils will look to build on the 4-4-3 conference record with nine seniors on the roster including standout forward Cali Farquaharson.
Arizona (11-8, 4-6)
Gabi Stoian had a breakout campaign as a freshman with the Wildcats. The Las Vegas-native recorded 33 points to lead Arizona to an 11-8-2 record and a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The young coaching staff with the Wildcats has loftier goals for the future and has shown an ability to improve year over year, which should make 2015 an exciting time for Arizona fans.
Oregon (7-10, 3-7)
Following Oregon’s first scrimmage of the season, head coach Kat Mertz cited the return of Maryn Beutler and ShayLee Miner to the squad. The Ducks will be counting on both to produce this fall in the attack.
Utah (8-8-4, 1-8-2)
The Utes are looking for a bounce back season after only winning one conference game last season. It was a big drop off from 2013 when the Utes finished third in the conference. Utah brings back keeper Lindsey Luke who made 99 saves in 2014 with a respectable 1.01 goals against average.
Oregon State (0-17-3, 0-11)
The good news for Oregon State fans s that 2014 is over. The Beavers enter 2015 with that tough season behind them and a bit of valuable experience gained from the year. Oregon State returns the squad from last year and brings in some explosive new players including World Cup veteran Greta Espinoza.