Sports

Stanford women are favored to win Pac-12 soccer title

 

Pac-12 women's soccer coaches voted Stanford the favorites to win the conference crown this season.

The coaches picked USC to finish second, followed by California.

The Cardinal is coming off its eighth trip to the NCAA tournament, winning its fifth Pac-12 title in the last seven years. The Cardinal was one of two Pac-12 teams standing in the NCAA tournament round of 16, falling in penalty kicks to Duke.

USC finished second in the Pac-12 Conference in 2015 with a record of 9-2. The Trojan squad earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament advancing to the round of 16, only the third USC team all-time to do so.

USC is set to return all but two starters for the 2016 season and appears on the NSCAA preseason ranking coming in at 11th overall.

California earned its 12th-straight berth to the NCAA Tournament last year, the second-longest streak in the Pac-12.

Junior Arielle Ship was the program's first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Year after earring the honor last year. The Golden Bears appear are 18th in the NSCAA preseason poll.

UCLA returns a strong group of seven seniors while at the same time bringing in a freshman class of seven.

The Bruins showed glimpses of dominance in 2015, beating three top-25 opponents, No. 13 Wisconsin, No.19 Pepperdine and No. 15 Arizona.

The Wildcats weighed in at fifth in the Pac-12 coaches polling, while Washington was slated at sixth overall, with Washington State holding the seventh spot and Arizona State eighth.

Utah was voted ninth, followed by Colorado, Oregon State and Oregon.

The 2016 Pac-12 women's soccer season is set to kick off Aug. 19.

— Stanford Athletics

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