USC Women's Soccer Tabbed to Finish Second in the Pac-12 in Preseason Coaches Poll |
Aug. 9, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO – In a vote by the coaches of the Pac-12, the Trojans are tabbed to finish second in the conference, it was announced today by the league office.
The Trojans, finished the 2015 campaign second in the Pac-12 with a 9-2 record in conference play. Overall they were 15-6-2 and advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament for just the third time in program history. They enter the 2016 campaign as the preseason No. 11 squad nationally, according to NSCAA.
The Trojans were just four points (112 total) behind the projected league-champion Stanford Cardinal (116). The Trojans received four first place votes to Stanford's six. California was picked third with 96 points and UCLA was tabbed fourth with 94 points. They also earned two first place votes. Arizona was picked fifth (70), Washington (68) in sixth, Washington State (65) seventh, Arizona State (36) eighth, Utah ninth (35), Colorado 10th (31) and Oregon State 11th with 28 points. In 2016, the Trojans return nine of 11 starters from last year’s squad, including NSCAA All-Americans Morgan Andrews and Kayla Mills. Both Andrews and Mills, now seniors, were named to the watch list for the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy Award, given to the nation’s top male and female collegiate soccer players. The also return All-Pac-12 Second Team midfielder Mandy Freeman and All-Pac-12 honorable mention goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme.
The Trojans had the best defense in the Pac-12 through the regular season, finishing with a 0.54 goals against average (just 11 goals allowed). In 2016 they will return all but two starters on the back line, anchored by the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in Mills and goalkeeper Prudhomme.
On the offensive side, the Trojans will look to find the back of the net more often in 2016 (just 36 goals in 23 games in 2015), but return three of the top four goal scorers, led by Morgan who tallied 12 scores. The Trojans also welcome back redshirt senior Katie Johnson, who returns to the squad after sitting out 2015 with a knee injury. She will provide incredible goal-scoring acumen and a savvy presence for the Trojans.
The team boasts an impressive group of newcomers as well, led by transfer forward Alex Anthony. The freshman class of nine will provide incredible depth, with a lot of international experience, both for the U.S. Women’s Youth National Team and the Australian (Lulu Pullar) and the English (Ashleigh Plumptre) programs.
The Trojans will play an exhibition match on Sunday, August 14 at 1 p.m. PT at McAlister Field against Air Force, before opening up the 2016 slate officially on Friday, August 19 at Santa Clara.