August 20, 2013

Linfield Chosen by Coaches to End Puget Sound's Reign Atop NWC

2013 NWC Preseason
Women's Soccer Coaches' Poll


              2012 Record

School

Pts.

NWC

Overall

Linfield (5)

66

12-2-2

16-2-2

Puget Sound (4)

64

13-2-1

14-5-1

Whitworth

44

10-4-2

10-8-2

Lewis & Clark

41

7-6-3

7-9-3

Pacific Lutheran

35

4-5-7

6-5-7

Pacific (Ore.)

32

6-8-2

8-8-4

Willamette

23

3-11-2

5-13-2

Whitman

18

4-9-3

5-12-3

George Fox

10

2-14-0

3-15-2
























(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches cannot vote for their own team)


SEATTLE, Wash. – The Linfield Wildcats have been chosen as the squad to put an end to Puget Sound's dominance in women's soccer, according to the head coaches of the Northwest Conference. 

Linfield collected five of the nine first-place votes and a total of 66 points in the poll, edging out the 11-time defending NWC champs by the slimmest of margins.

Two-time NWC Offensive Player of the Year and All-American forward Emily Fellows returns for her junior season at Linfield. Fellows looks to add to her school record 51 career goals and help bring the Wildcats a conference championship. She led the Northwest Conference in scoring in 2012 with 18 goals and six assists.

Also returning to Linfield will be striker Emma Vukic, who earned First Team All-NWC honors in her freshman season with six goals and six assists. The Wildcats should have plenty of firepower for the rest of the Northwest Conference to deal with in 2013.

In order for Linfield to claim its first conference title, they will have to dethrone 11-time NWC champions the Puget Sound Loggers. The Loggers earned four first-place votes in the poll and a total of 64 points. Their streak of 11 consecutive conference championships is the longest such streak in Division III women's soccer.

The Loggers made a first round exit from the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 loss to Trinity but return five All-NWC First and Second Team selections. Among the three returning first team selections are last year's NWC assist leader Kylie Beeson and fellow senior Hannah Hawkins. Junior first team selection Robin Vieira also returns up front.

Earning 44 points in the preseason poll are the Whitworth Pirates, who finished third in 2012 behind both Puget Sound and Linfield.

Whitworth posted ten wins in conference play last season and returns two key members of their defense in GK Andrea Stump and D Jami Hegg. Stump was first team All-NWC in her freshman season, posting an impressive 0.69 goals against average in NWC play. Hegg made second team All-NWC and led the Pirates in minutes played in 2012 with 1,839.

Close behind Whitworth are the Lewis & Clark College Pioneers, receiving 41 points. Lewis & Clark had a breakthrough season in 2012, with their best conference finish since 1985 as well as setting a new school record for most conference wins in a season.

Emily Thompson returns for her sophomore season after being voted to the first team All-NWC in her freshman season. Thompson scored six goals and added two assists in her rookie campaign.

Projected fifth in the standings is Pacific Lutheran, collecting 35 points. The Lutes look to continue to improve under second-year head coach Seth Spidahl.

PLU brings back talented sophomore forward Lauren Larson, who found the back of the net nine times in 2012, four of which were game-winners. Larson was selected to the All-NWC Second Team after her freshman season.

Selected just behind PLU are the Pacific University Boxers, tallying 32 points in the coaches' poll.

The Boxers graduated three second team All-NWC selections, including goalkeeper Brittany Hartmann. Hartmann had a 1.32 goals against average along with four shutouts in 14 starts during her senior season. 

The Willamette Bearcats are predicted to finish seventh in the Northwest Conference in 2013, gaining 23 points.

Willamette does bring back talented forward Ashland Bernard, who netted five goals and dished out three assists in her sophomore season, including a hat trick in a 4-3 overtime victory against Lewis & Clark.

Voted eighth in the Northwest Conference are the Whitman Missionaries with 18 points in the poll.

Whitman finished with four conference wins a year ago. The Missionaries lose last season's leading scorer Jaclyn Rudd, who had five goals and two assists in 20 starts during her senior season. 

Coming off a 2-14-0 conference finish last season, the George Fox Bruins with ten points are projected ninth.

The biggest change for the Bruins coming into 2013 is the addition of new head coach Cory Hand, who becomes only the third coach in the 22-year history at the school.

The 2013 women's soccer season kicks off Friday, Aug. 30th.
 
 

-- Compiled by Northwest Conference Sports Information Director/Assistant Commissioner Christopher Brown. Poll is comprised of votes of the head women's soccer coaches of the Northwest Conference.

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