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College Soccer News 2022 Preseason Top 30 Women’s College Soccer National Poll.

The College Soccer News Preseason Poll Is Based On A Combination Of Factors Including Returning Talent, Experience, And The Projected Impact Of Newcomers. Performance During the 2021 Season Is Also A Factor.

The Preseason Poll Is A Starting Point. College Soccer Will Issue A Weekly Women’s Top 30 Poll Throughout The Season And A Final Season Ending Poll At The Conclusion Of The NCAA Tourment.

Florida State

Brian Pensky, the 2021 SEC Coach of the Year at Tennessee, takes over the reins of a tradition rich program that is once again loaded with talented and experienced players. He also inherits the very high expectations that go with a program that has had the success that FSU enjoyed under Mark Krikorian whose departure at the conclusion of the national championship 2021 season came as a surprise. Juniors Beata Olsson (14g, 1a) and Jody Brown (4g, 10a), senior Jeanna Nighswonger (3g, 8a) and Graduate Student Clara Robbins (6g, 8a) return to add punch to what should be an explosive offense. Junior Cristina Rogue, a two-year starter and outstanding shot stopper, returns to anchor a defense with a backline in front of her that will feature a lot of new faces due to the departure of stalwarts Emily Madril, Gabby Carle, Kristen Pavlisko and holding midfielder Jaelin Howell. FSU may experience the transition challenges that go with a change in head coaches but don’t expect a drop off under Pensky.

The Cougars will seek to build on a history making 2021 season in which they were 17-5-2 and finished as the national runner up. Head coach Jennifer Rockwood faces the tall task of filling the void that exists due to the departure of a talented group of seniors that included forwards Mikayla Colohan (18g, 5a) and Cameron Tucker (16g, 8a) and goalkeeper Cassidy Smith. Junior forward Bella Folino (9g, 1a), midfielders Jamie Sheppard (1g, 3a), Olivia Smith (1g, 7a) and junior back Laveni Vaka are among returning players who will likely play a key role in 2022.

Eight starters return, including several sophomores who now have the benefit of a year of starting experience, from the 2021 team that was 19-4-2 and advanced to the College Cup. Rutgers will miss the playmaking ability and the experience that forward Ali Amirah (12g, 6a), midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri (13g, 9a) and back Gabby Provenzano provided but look for Rutgers to keep on keeping on in 2022 with the likes of sophomore Riley Tiernan (8g, 13a) and junior Allison Lowrey (6g, 4a) returning to power the attack up-top. Junior Becci Fluchel and sophomore Kylie Daigle are among a solid contingent of returning midfielders. Graduate Student Meagan McClelland, a four-year starter, and senior back Allison Lynch, a three-year starter, return to anchor what should be a solid defense.

Duke returns eight starters from the 2021 squad that was 16-4-1 and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils will be without the experience they gained last year when Graduate Students back Caitlin Cosme and midfielders Tess Boade (8g, 5a) and Lily Nabet elected to utilize the additional year of eligibility granted. However, the return of Graduate Students back Delaney Graham, a four-year starter and and forward Mackenzie Pluck (5g, 8a), a three-year starter and the addition of Graduate Student transfer back Jenna Royson is a plus. All-American sophomore Michelle Cooper (12g, 5a) will power the attack up-top. All-American senior midfielder Ruthie Jones, junior backs Emily Royson and Katie Groff, and senior goalkeeper Ruthie Jones are among other key returning players. Duke will be talented with the type of big play ability that will make them tough to top.

There is a lot to like about the Horned Frogs. The departure of back Brandi Peterson and forward Grace Collings leaves some big shoes to fill but eight starters return, including a slew of Big 12 All-Conference selections, from the 2021 team that had a program best 19 wins. Graduate Student Messiah Bright (17g, 6a), a United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News All-American, returns up-top along with sophomore forward Camryn Lancaster (9g, 12a). Senior midfielder Gracie Brian (9g, 10a) will add yet another dimension to the offense. Graduate Student Chaylyn, a four-year starter, returns to add strength and stability to the center of the park. Junior Lauren Kellett, the 2021 Big 12 Goalkeeper of the Year, gives TCU a talented and composed presence between the pipes. Early season contests at home with Santa Clara, on the road with USC, and at home against Duke provide the opportunity to secure signature wins.
Santa Clara

For the past two seasons Santa Clara has struggled in the early going then caught fire and played their way into the College Cup. Accordingly, it is foolish to ever count out or underestimate the resilience of the Broncos under the guidance of veteran head coach Jerry Smith but the departure of mainstays like forward Kelsey Turnbow (11g, 12a) and defender Alex Loera (3g, 7a) among others creates uncertainty and puts the Broncos in reload mode at least on paper in 2022. Senior midfielder Izzy D’Aquila (8g, 4a), junior forwards Sally Menti (1g, 2a) and Lucy Mitchell (4g, 3a) return to set the pace on offense. Junior back Makoto Nezu, a two-year starter, and goalkeepers Marlee Nicolos and Kylie Foutch return to anchor the defense.

Forwards Graduate Student Hailey Hopkins (8g, 9a) and fifth-year senior Alexa Spaanstra (7g, 9a) and midfielder Lia Godfrey (3g, 12a) are among the returning players who the Cavaliers will count on to fill the void that exists due to the departure of Diana Ordonez (18g, 3a). The backline which will be anchored by fifth-year senior Claire Constant, a four-year starter, senior Talia Staude who is a three-year starter, and junior Samar Guidry, a two-year starter, looks to be a team strength. Senior Cayla White, who appeared in seven games in 2021 with two starts, is the likely heir apparent to assume the starting job in goal due to the departure of goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, a four year starter with 42 career shutouts.
The Razorbacks return a solid core from the 2021 barrier breaking team that won a program best 19 wins and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Key departures include midfielders Parker Goins (11g, 14a), Taylor Malham (11g, 6a) and Kayla McKeon (7g, 7a) and back Haley VanFossen. Senior forward Anna Podojil (16g, 6a) and junior midfielder Ava Tankersby (5g, 6a) return to add punch to the attack while senior backs Bryana Hunter, Reagan Swindall and junior Emilee Hauser return to anchor the defense along with senior goalkeeper Hannah Warner.

Seniors Dani Wolfe (5g, 4a) and Hannah Blake (4g, 3a) and junior Sammi Woods (5g, 4a) will power the attack up top. Graduate Student Meredith Haakenson (5g, 6a) looks to be a force in the midfield. Senior back Jayde Riviere and sophomore holding midfielder Avery Kalitta are among returning players on the defensive side of the ball. Graduate Student Izzy Nino is among the likely candidates to assume the staring role in goal. Michigan enters the 2022 season off an outstanding 18 win 2021 campaign with all the momentum that implies. However, Jennifer Klein has some big shoes to fill due to the departure of forward Nicki Hernandez (9g, 6a), midfielders Raleigh Loughman (9g, 9a) and Sarah Stratigakis (2g, 5a), All-American back Alia Martin, and stalwart goalkeeper Hillary Beall who was a starter for five seasons.

Joe Kirt takes over the reigns of the program from Brian Pensky. The transition should be seamless since Kirt served as an assistant coach at Tennessee for 15 seasons. Ten starters return from the 2021 squad that was 20-3-0, won the SEC Tourney for the first time since 2008, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The departure of defender Wrenne French, a key contributor for five seasons, leaves big shoes to fill but the Vols should again be rock solid on the defensive side of the ball. Senior Lindsey Romig, a three-year starter, returns in goal along with backs junior Lawson Renie and sophomore Claire Rain and senior defensive mid Tara Katz. Fifth-year senior Abbey Burdette (2g, 2a), senior Claudia Dipasupil (7g, 6a) and super sophomores Taylor Huff (10g, 5a) and Jordan Fusco (4g, 5a) are among a very deep group of midfielders. Redshirt junior All-American Jaida Thomas (13g, 5a) and fifth-year senior Mackenzie George (6g, 10a) return to add shake and bake to the attack up-top. The Vols will be tested with a season opener in Chapel Hill against North Carolina followed by contests at home with SMU and Duke.

Margueritte Azozasa assumes the reins of the program from Armanda Cromwell who departed after nine seasons during which the Bruins were 149-29-20. UCLA could experience the growing pains that often accompany the transition to a new head coach but chances are pretty good that the Bruins will hit the ground running under Azozasa. The playmaking ability that All-American Mia Fishel provided will be missed but Azozasa inherits a solid core of returning players along with a highly regarded recruiting class that includes several players who will contribute immediately. Junior Reilyn Turner (10g, 1a) returns to lead the attack up-top. Transfer forward Ally Cook, a three-year starter at Oregon, will add another dimension up-top. Graduate Student Lauren Brzykcy will anchor what should be a tenacious defense along with senior backs Kylie Kerr and Brianne Riley and sophomores Lilly Reale and Quincy McMahon.
South Carolina

The Gamecocks are coming off a somewhat up and down 2021 season during which they were 15-7-1 and advanced to the Elite Eight. Juniors Catherine Berry (8g, 3a) and Corinna Zullo (5g, 1a) return up-top. Fifth-year senior Claire Griffiths (1g, 3a) and redshirt senior Samantha Chang (3g, 3a) will set the pace in the midfield while the defense will be anchored by senior goalkeeper Heather HInz and backs fifth-year senior Jyllissa Harris (4g, 3a) and senior Camryn Dixon (0g, 3a). Opportunity knocks early for South Carolina with a season opening game at home against Florida State.
North Carolina

The Tar Heels are capable off rocketing upward in the rankings but some restraint is warranted because they are coming off a 2021 season during which they uncharacteristically didn’t qualify for the ACC Tournament field and were one and done in the NCAA Tournament. It is a given that UNC will be talented and well coached so much will hinge on how well they merge together the individual talents of what looks to be a very deep team. The departure of goalkeeper Claudia Dickey means that a new face will be in goal. Senior All-American center back Maycee Bell (2g, 1a), a stalwart three-year starter, returns to anchor the backline along with senior Julia Dorsey (1g, 0a) and junior Abby Allen. Junior Sam Meza (2g, 1a), senior Maggie Pierce (1g, 1a) and sophomore Emily Colton (7g, 1a) return in the midfield. Seniors Isabel Cox (4g, 2a) and Emily Moxley (0g, 6a) and sophomores Emily Murphy (5g, 6a) and Avery Patterson (5g, 3a) return up top. The healthy return of redshirt freshman forward Ally Senthor, who missed the 2021 season due to injury and junior midfielder Talia Dellaperuta (1g, 0a) who was hampered in 2021 due to injury is a big plus.
Penn State

Nine starters return but the two who do not, All-American midfielder Sam Coffey (8g, 8a) and center back Kerry Abello (2g, 1a) leave some big shoes to fill. Redshirt senior midfielder Ally Schlegel (10g, 4a) and senior forward/midfielder Payton Linnehan (7g, 3a) are among returning players who will power the attack. The addition of fifth year senior transfer All-American forward Penelope Hocking, the Pac-12 2021 and 2020 Forward of the Year, could take the attack to another level. Junior forward Ellie Wheeler (2g, 0a) and midfielders senior Cori Dyke, a four-year starter, fifth year senior Rachel Wasserman (3g, 1a), and senior Jordan Canniff (4g, 3a) are among others who will be in the mix. Redshirt senior Maddie Myers returns to anchor the backline along with seniors Kate Wiesner and Devon Olive. Fifth year senior transfer back Cassie Hiatt, a multi-year starter at Texas Tech, should make an immediate contribution. Redshirt senior Katherine Asman, a three-year starter, returns to give the Nittany Lions a solid and composed presence in goal. Much will depend on how well the newcomers merge in with existing players. Finding consistency quickly would be huge for a Penn State team that will win a lot of games if everything falls into place.

Add the Trojans to the list of tradition rich programs that will be under new management in 2022 with Jane Alukonis, a former UCLA assistant coach, replacing Keidane McAlphine who left to become the head coach at Georgia. Eight starters return including All-American midfielder Croix Bethune (16g, 10a), the 2021 Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year. Sophomore Simone Jackson (5g, 8a) and senior Hannah White (4g, 3a) add yet another dimension to the attack. Sophomores Simi Awujo (2g, 2a) and Aaliyah Farmer (3g, 2a) return in the midfield with a year of starting experience under their belts. Graduate Student Anna Smith who had a 0.96 goals against average in 2021 will anchor the defense in goal along with defenders sophomore Brooklyn Courtnall, seniors Kaylin Martin and Jaelyn Eisenhart and junior Zoe Burns. Graduate student back Brandi Peterson, an All-American at TCU, and senior back Nicole Payne a three-year starter at West Virginia, are impact newcomers.

The Waves under veteran head coach Tim Ward look to be a team that is hungry to build on the success the program enjoyed last year. Pepperdine will miss the big play ability that midfielder Joelle Anderson (11g, 8a) and forward Devyn Gilfoy (5g, 0a) provided as well as the composure that goalkeeper Zoe Clevely brought to the pitch. However, with eight starters back the Waves look to be well positioned for another successful season in 2022. Junior forward Tori Waldeck (9g, 10) and senior midfielder Carlee Giammona (7g, 8a) return to pace the attack. Senior Shelby Little (2g, 1a) and sophomore Tabitha Laparl (2g, 3a) return in the midfield. The backline looks to be solid with the return of center backs fifth-year senior Trinity Watson (5g, 5a) and graduate student Kelsey Hill as well as backs juniors Victoria Romero and Alex Sampson and redshirt sophomore Kam Pickett.

The Hoyas will seek to build on a productive 2021 season during which they were 14-2-6 overall, won the Big East Tournament, and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tourney for the tenth consecutive season. Rebuilding will be required in the back due to the departure of Sydney Cummings, Kelly Ann Livingstone and Jenna Royson. Senior goalkeeper Allie Augar and sophomore backs Cyanne Doyle (5g, 5a) and Eliza Turner (1g, 3a) provide a solid nucleus around which to rebuild. Senior forward Gia Vicari (9g, 8a), senior Julia Leas (5g, 6a), the 2021 Big East Midfielder of the Year, and graduate student Maya Fernandez-Powell (2g, 11a) return to lead what should be a multi-dimensional offense.
Notre Dame

A very deep contingent of players return from the 2021 team that was 14-6-2 overall and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Challenge number one looks to be replacing the big play ability and experience that left the building with midfielder Sammi Fisher (13g, 6a) who was a four-year starter and team leader. Sophomore midfielder Korbin Albert (12g, 4a), graduate student forward Olivia Wingate (7g, 5a), senior forward Kati Druzina (0g, 5a) and senior midfielder Maddie Mercado (5g, 4a) are among returning players who will be called upon to lead the attack in 2022. Graduate student transfers Kristina Lynch from FSU and Anna Rico from Pitt are among the newcomers who should add an additional element to the attack. Junior goalkeeper Ashle Naylor and backs Eva Gaetino, Waniya Hudson, Eva Wirtz and Kaylie Ronan return to anchor the defense.
Washington State

The Cougar defense should be a team strength with sophomore Nadic Cooper, the 2021 Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year and center backs and multi-year starters Mykiaa Minniss and Bridget Rieken and sophomore back Reese Tappan returning. Senior forward Grayson Lynch (8g, 2a) and fifth-year senior attacking midfielder Sydney Studer (2g, 6a) are among returning players who will be tasked with filling the void that exists in the attack due to the departure of fifth-year senior All-American forward Elyse Bennett (10g, 4a).

Memphis returns a ton of talent, including nine starters, from the 2021 team that was 14-5-2 overall, won the AAC title, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Key departures include goalkeeper Elizabeth Moberg, a five-season starter, who departed with a program record 43 career shutouts and back Caroline Duncan, a three-year starter. Fifth-year senior Tanya Boychuk (6g, 4a), seniors Saorla Miller (5g, 3a) and Mya Jones (2g, 2a), junior Grace Stordy (4g, 0a) and sophomores Jocelyn Alonzo (6g, 4a) and Momo Nakao (2g, 2a) return to add punch and balance to the attack. Fifth-year senior backs Kimberly Smit and Mackenzie Bray and defensive junior midfielder Haylee Spray provide a solid nucleus on the defensive side of the ball. Brooks Monaghan has added a promising recruiting class that includes sophomore transfers goalkeeper Kaylie Bierman and midfielder Lilly Huber.

The Cardinal are coming off a 2020 (spring 2021) season during which they didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997 and a 2021 season in which they were 13-6-1 and returned to the NCAA Tournament field but were eliminated in the first round. Look for a history rich Stanford program to pull together and rebound in 2022. Graduate student Abby Greubel (5g, 2a) and sophomore Andrea Kitahata (4g, 6a) return up-top . Senior Maya Doms (11g, 3a) is a prime timer who will set the pace in the midfield. Redshirt senior Sierra Enge, seniors Kennedy Wesley and Page Rubinstein, and sophomore Avani Brandt will anchor an experienced backline.

Hook ’em Horns. Angela Kelly’s Texas Longhorns will be a difficult team to beat if they can settle into a balance that will enable them to apply pressure on the offensive side of the ball while not leaving themselves vulnerable on defense. Ten starters and a solid contingent of contributing players return including players who were responsible for 32 of the 38 goals scored last year. The lone departure is All-American midfielder Julia Grosso (6g, 4a) who was an impact player for four seasons. Sophomore forward Trinity Byars (12g, 10a), sophomore midfielder Lexi Missimo (9g, 14a), fifth year senior forward Mackenzie McFarland (4g, 2da) and sophomore forward Holly Ward (1g, 1a) are among a host of returning players with playmaking ability. Senior Savannah Madden returns in goal with a backline that will include fifth year senior and four-year starter Emma Regan, junior Lauren Lapomardo and sophomore E.J. Cox. Sophomore transfer Jilly Shimkin is a solid addition to a very deep deep Longhorn midfield.

There is a lot to like about the Musketeers who return eight starters from the 2021 team that was 16-3-1 overall with a 9-1-0 mark in Big East Conference play. Nate Lie has also strengthened the roster with the addition of several experienced transfers. Xavier should have a balanced attack with forwards senior Emma Marcus (4g, 3a, sophomore Shelby Sallee (4g, 3a) and junior Sonia Vargas (2g, 3a) and sophomore midfielders Chloe Netzel (6g, 2a) and Ella Rogers (4g, 0a) among returning players. However, the loss of Olivia Jenkins, the 2021 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year, and stalwart backs Hayley Jakovich (1g, 3a) and Grace Brauer (0g, 1a) who were four-year starters creates some uncertainty of the defensive side of the ball for a Musketeer team that only allowed a total of 11 goals last year.

Nicole Nelson, who served as an assistant coach at SMU from 2012 through 2019 and the head coach at Oklahoma from 2007 to 2011 returns to Dallas to take over the head coaching job. SMU looks to be eager and well positioned to build on a productive 2021 season during which the Mustangs were 12-5-2, returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016, and earned the programs first NCAA Tournament win since 2006. Graduate Student midfielder Courtney Sebazco (4g, 4a), a 2021 All-AAC First Team selection with great touch on the ball, and junior forward Wayny Balata, an All-AAC Second Team selection whose athleticism makes her difficult to contain in the attacking third, return to power the offense. Graduate Student Katina Tsapos (0g, 1a) returns to add stability in the midfield. Redshirt junior Alina Khan (3g, 0a and junior Rudden Mackenzie (2g, 1a) are among other returning midfielders who look to be in the mix. Redshirt senior Samantha Estrada and redshirt junior Tatum Sutherland return to anchor the defense in goal. Sophomores Elisabeth Tse and Sammy Nieves and juniors Abby Dermott and Payton Doiron are among a solid contingent of returning defenders.

Clemson returns a solid nucleus including their top five goal scores and an impressive backline from the 2021 team that was 12-7-1 with a 6-3-1 mark in ACC play. Seniors Maliah Morris (5g, 7a) and Conti Caroline (6g, 6a) and sophomore Renee Lyles (7g, 5a) who had a banner freshman season return up-top. Senior midfielder Hal Hershfelt (7g, 3a) is back to set the pace in the midfield. All-American junior Megan Bornkamp (10g, 10a) and talented sophomore Caitlin Smith (0g, 1a) return at center back to anchor the defense along with junior outside backs Makenna Morris (6g, 9a), a three-year starter, and senior Harper White (2g, 2a), a four-year starter. Junior Halle Mackiewicz who saw action in six games last year with three starts is among returning goalkeepers.
Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons are coming off one of the best seasons in program history during which they were 16-6-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Last year Wake Forest found the back of the net 43 times and held opponents to a total of 17 goals. The Deacons should again be solid on the defensive side of the ball with redshirt junior All-American Kaitlyn Parks returning in goal along with sophomore backs Kristin Johnson and Zara Chavoshi. Offensive punch is a concern due to the departure of their top five goal scorers including forward Shayla Smart (11g, 3a). Others will need to emerge to keep the offense balanced. Sophomores Nikayla Small (1g, 5a) and Malaika Meena (2g, 1a) are among returning midfielders. Tony da Luz may have to depend on a newcomer or two to contribute immediately on the offensive side of the ball which is always a risky situation.

A solid contingent returns on the defensive side of the ball led by All-American senior Ashley Orkus, the 2021 SEC Goalkeeper of the Year and a three-year starter. Seniors Sydney Michalak and Taylor Radecki (1g, 7a) and juniors Price Loposer and Lucy Green also return to anchor the backline. Junior Jenna Kemp (1g, 1a) should also be in the mix either in the midfield or as an outside back. In addition the recruiting class includes several transfer defenders who should hit the ground running. The departure of midfielder Haleigh Stackpole (5g, 16a), a four-year starter with 31 career assists, forward Channing Foster (9g, 6a), a five-time All-SEC selection with 44 career goals and midfielder Molly Martin (10g, 1a), a four-year starter, were all cornerstone players who leave a big void on the offensive side of the ball. Senior forward Mo O’Connor (7g, 4a) and junior forward Ramsey Davis (2g, 4a) look to be among returning players who Matt Mott will look to for offensive punch. Graduate Student transfers Marykate McGuire from Duke and Molly Thompson from LSU and sophomore Aubrey Mister from Memphis are significant adds.

Brown under the direction of Kia McNeill will seek to become the first team to win three straight outright Ivy League titles since Harvard did so back in 1995-1997. The Bears have some gaps to fill due to departures but a third consecutive Ancient Eight Title and standing on the national scene are possible based on the talent and experience returning. Senior All-American Brittany Raphino (11g, 6a), the 2021 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year, is a prime timer who returns to add firepower to the attack up-top along with senior forward Ava Seelenfreund (8g, 2a), a 2021 All-Ivy First Team selection, and sophomore forward Miya Grant-Clavijo (4g, 1a) among others. Senior Zoe Maxwell (2g, 6a) and junior Evelyn Calhoon (1g, 5a) are playmakers who add an additional dimension to the attack in the midfield. The healthy return of sophomore midfielder Gianna De Priest (0g, 1a)_who missed a large portion of the season due to injury is an additional plus. Senior back Kayla Duran (1g, 4a), the 2021 Ivy League Defender of the Year, returns to anchor the defense along with junior Jessica Hinton. Junior Clare Gagne looks to be among the likely candidates to fill the vacancy that exists in goal due to the departure of Kayla Thompson who was a multi-year All-Ivy League selection.

It has been a long time since goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer, forward Cammie Murtha (1g, 5a) and midfielder Maia Cella (0g, 1a) have not been on the pitch for the Badgers. All-American Bloomer was a four-year starter while Murtha and Cella were five season starters. The potential exists for Wisconsin to experience a learning curve but the Badgers have the pieces to be very competitive. Paula Wilkins’ teams are not soft and have effectively weathered the loss of key players before. Graduate Student Natalie Viggiano (8g, 5a) and senior Emma Jaskaniec (9g, 4a), a three-year starter, are back to power the attack along with senior forward Claire Odmark (4g, 1a) among others. Sophomore Maia Richters who now has the benefit of a year of starting experience is among returning midfielders. The backline looks to be a team strength with seniors Izzy Verdugo (1g, 2a), a two-year starter, and Macy Monticello, a three-year starter, redshirt junior Gabby Green, a two-year starter, and highly regarded sophomore Aidan McConnell slated to return. The Badgers open the season with tough games on the road against TCU and Baylor.
UC Irvine

The Anteaters enter the 2022 season eager to build on a breakout 2021 season during which they were 16-6-0, won the Big West Tournament for the first time since 1997, returned to the NCAA Tournament and secured the programs first NCAA Tourney win since 2011. The first order of business for UC Irvine head coach Scott Juniper will be filling the void that exists due to the departure of Scarlett Camberos (13g, 7a), the 2021 Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Juniper will have a lot of lineup options in 2022. Sophomore Alyssa Moore (6g, 4a) returns to add spark the attack up-top along with seniors Alex Jaquez (1g, 2a) and Amber Huff (1g, 3a), juniors Lilli Rask (1g, 1a) and Erin Covey, and sophomores Sophie Gillies (4g, 3a) and Desiree Mendoza (3g, 3a). Redshirt Junior Destinee Manzo (4g, 4a) and junior Chloe Ragon (2g, 2a) are among returning midfielders. Redshirt junior Gio Hinojosa, the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, returns on defensive side of the ball along with junior defensive midfielder Gianna Creighton, an All-Big West First Team selection, senior back Maddy Chavez, the 2021 Big West Defensive Player of the Year, and sophomore back Kiera Smeenge who was named to the Big West All-Freshman Team.
NC State

A solid core returns from the 2021 team that was 9-4-2 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pack under head coach Tim Santoro enters the 2022 season with a nice balance of older and younger players. The experience the younger players gained last year should enhance NC State’s ability to put together a full 90 minutes of play and give them the edge they need to win more of the close contests that eluded them last year but their margin for error remains small. Senior Jameese Joseph (9g, 2a), a 2021 All-ACC Second Team selection, will add punch to the attack up-top. Senior Jaiden Thomas (1g, 0a), a three-year starter, returns to set the pace in the midfield along with sophomores Annika Wohner (6g, 2a) and Emika Kawagishi (2g, 2a) who will likely get the bump in play that comes between the freshman and sophomores seasons. Junior Maria Echezarreta, an experienced two-year starter with a 1.07 goals against average in 2021, returns in goal. Graduate Students Jenna Butler (4g, 2a) and Lulu Guttenberger (3g, 5a) will anchor the backline along with sophomores Brianna Weber (1g, 0a), Fernanda Soto (0g, 3a) and Nina Zimmer.

Others Receiving Votes: South Florida, Auburn, Princeton, Purdue, Butler, St. John’s, Alabama, West Virginia, Milwaukee

Posted in CSN Preseason Top 30 Poll

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