Puget Sound Favored Again in Women's Soccer

Puget Sound Favored Again in Women's Soccer
2011 NWC Women's Soccer Coaches' Preseason Poll: 2010 records
School (1st) Pts. All NWC
1. Puget Sound (Wash.) (7) 69 17-2-2 14-1-1
2. Whitworth (Wash.) (1) 56 14-5-1 12-3-1
3. Linfield (Ore.) (1) 55 13-6-1 11-4-1
4. Whitman (Wash.)   36 6-11-2 4-10-2
5. Pacific (Ore.)   32 8-9-3 8-6-2
6. Willamette (Ore.)   31 7-11-2 6-8-2
7. George Fox (Ore.)   20 5-11-4 4-10-2
8. Lewis & Clark (Ore.)   15 3-13-4 1-13-2
9. Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)   13 5-13-1 5-10-1
(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis).

The University of Puget Sound is heavily favored to make it an even decade of dominance in Northwest Conference women's soccer, according to the 2011 preseason poll of conference coaches. UPS received seven out of nine first place votes and is gunning for its tenth consecutive NWC title.

Senior forward Theresa Henle, second in the NWC in scoring last season, returns to lead the Loggers, who totaled 69 points in the poll. She will get help from fellow senior forward Christine Isabella and senior midfielder Abby Goss, both Second Team All-NWC honorees last season.

Whitworth edged Linfield for second place in the poll. Both teams picked up a singled first place vote and the Pirates totaled 56 points to the Wildcats' 55 points. Whitworth welcomes back three senior First Team All-NWC selections in GK Callie Bergstrom, defender Anisa Babar and forward Sarah Berentson. Linfield will be led by NWC Offensive Player of the Year Emily Fellows, who stunned the league in 2010 by scoring 26 goals in her first collegiate season.

Whitman is fourth in the poll with 36 points. The Missionaries gained valuable training time and game experience during a summer playing tour in England.  Whitman will be led by standout defender Erin Flannery.

Pacific (Ore.) and Willamette follow in fifth and sixth place with 32 and 31 points, respectively. Pacific returns several starters from last season, including seniors Jordan Bodily and Teri Shigeno. The Bearcats will rely on senior Stephanie Skelly and junior Andrea Rowan, a pair of talented midfielders.

George Fox is seventh in the poll with 20 points. Melanie Gaither, who led the Bruins in scoring last season, returns for her third season.

Lewis & Clark (15 points) is eighth. Natalie Levy, who led the team with five goals as a freshman in 2010, will be back.

Pacific Lutheran rounds out the poll with 13 points. Karli Hurlbut, a Second Team All-NWC midfielder last season, will be a senior leader for the Lutes.

The 2011 NWC season gets underway on September 1st. George Fox will play the league's first match of the season when the Bruins travel to Northwest (Wash.). All nine schools will have taken the pitch at least once by Monday, September 5th.