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College Soccer News 2023 Preseason Top 30 Women’s College Soccer 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 2022 season is also a factor.

The preseason poll is a starting point. college soccer news will issues a weekly women’s top 30 poll throughout the season and a final season ending poll at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament.


What’s not to like about UCLA heading into the 2023 season. Eight starters return from the 2022 National Championship team along with a solid core of players who were key contributors last year. In addition the Bruins have added a blockbuster recruiting class. Midfielder Sunshine Fontes (11g, 8a) and forward Reilyn Turner (11g, 3a) will power the attack. Forwards Lexi Wright (8g, 6a) and Ally Cook add additional firepower. Junior Maricarmen Reyes and super sophomores Ally Lemos (1g, 9a) and Sofia Cook (7g, 4a) return in the midfield. All-American Lilly Reale, Quincy McMahon and Jayden Perry return to anchor the backline. The departure of Lauren Brzykcy, a three-year starter in goal, does create a little uncertainty. Perhaps the biggest question mark is what will head coach Margueritte Aozasa do for an encore after winning the national championship in her first season at the helm of the program. The Bruins will have to face the inherent pressure to repeat that follows a national championship.
North Carolina

Anson Dorrance enters his 45th season as the Tar Hell head coach with a solid contingent of players from the 2022 squad that advanced to the national championship match. Senior Avery Patterson (13g, 8a) and redshirt sophomore Ally Sentor (10g, 2a) are part of what should be a productive UNC attack. Senior Sam Mezza returns in the midfield. The defense should be solid with graduate student Emily Moxley, redshirt senior Maycee Bell and sophomore Tessa Dellarose among returning defenders and redshirt sophomore Emmie Allen in goal with a year of starting experience under her belt. This looks to be a talented, motivated, and hungry Tar Heel team that likely feels that they have something to prove in 2023 after coming so close to winning the national championship last year.
Florida State
Nine starters return from the 2022 team that won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the College Cup. The Noles will miss the playmaking ability that All-American midfielder Jenna Nighswonger brought to the pitch but this is a program that is used to filling the shoes of big time players. Senior All-American Jody Brown (8g, 10a) returns to add punch to the attack up-top along with senior Beata Olsson (6g, 3a). The midfield with be solid and the defense anchored by center backs Lauren Flynn and sophomore Heather Gilchrist and senior All-American goalkeeper Cristina Roque should be tenacious. Brian Pensky will enter his second season as the FSU head coach with a talented and experienced roster that includes four transfers with the ability to make an immediate contribution.
Much will hinge on the ability of a Tide attack that will feature All-American midfielder Felicia Knox and sophomore forward Gianna Paul, the 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year, to provide the offensive punch that enabled Alabama to place their opponents under pressure last year. The backline looks to be strong and deep anchored by center back Sasha Pickard and outside back Gessica Skorka among others. There is much to like about the Tide heading into the 2023 season but it remains to be seen whether they have they the balance needed to sustain and build on the momentum the program has generated the past two seasons.

Eight starters return along with a talented contingent of contributing players from the 2022 team that advanced to the Elite Eight . Senior All-American Lia Godfrey (8g, 5a) and sophomore Maggie Cagle (4g, 12a) are creative and productive playmakers. Graduate Student and team captain Emma Dawson (2g, 2a) and senior Alexis Theoret (1g, 1a) and sophomore Jill Fammia (4g, 0a) are part of what looks to be a deep midfield. The defense that includes backs graduate student Talia Staude and seniors Laney Rouse and Samar Guidry and will be anchored in goal by graduate student Cayla White should be very good.
Notre Dame

The Irish are coming off a season during which they were awarded a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight. Notre Dame will miss the firepower that do-it-all All-American midfielder Korbin Albert (16g, 5a) and forward Olivia Wingate (14g, 5a) provided last year, but the Irish attack should still be formidable led by graduate student Maddie Mercado (10g, 4a) and KiKi Van Zanten (7g, 4a). Defense played a key role in the success the Irish had last year and will again in 2023. The backline is loaded with the return of senior All-American Eva Gaetino, graduate student Waniya Hudson and sophomore Leah Klenke. Senior Ashley Naylor looks to be a very capable replacement to fill the vacancy in goal that exists due to the departure of Mackenzie Wood. Graduate Student transfer Kristina Lynch from FSU is a solid addition to the midfield. The 2023 schedule is not kind to the Irish with ACC games on the road with Duke, Pitt, Florida State, UNC, and Clemson.

The cupboard is far from bare at Duke but any objective analysis has to take into consideration that the Blue Devils under head coach Robbie Church have more than the average number of key departures to contend with including the big void that exists on the offensive side of the ball due to the decision of All-American forward and 2022 Hermann Trophy winner Michele Cooper to depart early to enter the professional ranks. Sophomore forward Kat Rader (12g, 5a), the ACC Freshman of the Year, returns to lead the attack. Much will depend on the emergence of another goal scorer or two to add balance to the attack. Seniors Olivia Migli (1g, 4a) and Maggie Graham (4g, 6a) return to set the pace in the midfield. Seniors Emily Royson, a three-year starter, and Katie Groff (2g, 5a), a two-year starter and sophomore Elle Piper return to provide a solid nucleus in the back. Transfer Leah Freeman, a three-year starter in goal at Oregon, looks to be the starter to fill the void that exists in goal.

Graduate Student Anna Podojil (8g, 6a) and senior Ava Tankersley (9g, 12) are playmakers and will provide pop to the attack. Graduate Student Bea Franklin (5g, 1a) returns to set the pace in the midfield along with senior Elle Podogil (3g, 4a) and sophomore Joe Susi (2g, 1a). Senior Emilee Hauser (0g, 5a) and sophomore Ella Riley are among returning backs. Early season games on the road against Notre Dame in South Bend, North Carolina in Chapel Hill and Clemson at Clemson provide the opportunity for resume building non-conference wins but also could be hazardous to the Razorbacks record in the early going.

The Cardinal return a great deal of skill and experience on both sides of the ball. Eight starters and a lot of younger players who gained valuable experience last year are slated to return for a team that won the Pac-12 Title last year and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Senior Samantha Williams (7g, 6a) and sophomores Lumi Kostamayer (10g, 3a) and Allie Montoya (5g, 4a) return up-top. All-American graduate student and captain Maya Doms (4g, 5a), sophomore Jasmine Aikey (10g, 3a) and senior Julia Leontini (3g, 4a) are among a very good and deep Stanford midfield. The backline is a team strength with the return of graduate student center back Kennedy Wesley, sophomore Elise Evans, the 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and junior Kellie Pagador among others. Senior Ryan Campbell, who had a 0.55 goals against average with eight shutouts last year, returns to give the Cardinal a composed and talented shot stopper in goal. This team will be really tough to top if the sophomores get the bump in play that usually accompanies having a year of experience.
Brigham Young

BYU begins play in the Big 12 in 2023 with a team that returns every starter along with a ton of players who were contributors. Senior All-American Brecken Mozingo (12g, 10a), senior Jamie Shepherd, the 2022 WCC Midfielder of the Year, sophomore forward Allie Fryer (9g, 1a) and senior midfielder Olivia Wade-Katoa (9g, 5a), a four-year starter, return to add plenty of punch to a potent Cougar attack that scored a total of 51 goals last year. Junior Olivia Smith-Griffitts (1g, 4a), senior Bella Folino (5g, 1a) and senior Kendell Peterson (0g, 3a) round out a deep contingent of midfielders. Senior Laveni Vaka, the 2022 WCC Defender of the Year and sophomore center back Izzi Stratton are among returning backs. Junior Savanna Mason returns to anchor the defense in goal. It is a tribute to the stability of the program that BYU under head coach Jennifer Rockwood ranks number one nationally in home attendance with an average crowd on hand in excess of 3,000 fans. The move from the WCC to the Big 12 creates some uncertainty and the potential for a learning curve but expectations are justifiably high at BYU.

TCU will discover what life is like without All-American Messiah Bright (11g, 4a) who had 49 career goals and 17 career assists during five seasons as a starter for the Horned Frogs. Nonetheless, head coach Eric Bell will have a good amount of talent to work with including 2022 All-Big 12 First Team members junior forward Camryn Lancaster (6g, 1a), graduate student midfielder Gracie Brian (7g, 4a), and senior goalkeeper Lauren Kellett who posted ten shutouts last year. Much will hinge on the ability of others to assume a greater role in 2023.
South Carolina

Senior Catherine Barry, a 2022 All-SEC First Team member, is a prime timer who will power the attack up-top. Sophomore sophomore forward Shae O’Rourke (6g, 3a) will add another dimension and balance to the offense. Senior forward Corinna Zullo (2g, 5a) is an experienced playmaker. Senior Brianna Behm (1g, 0a) and talented sophomore Gracie Falls are key ingredients in a midfield that requires some reloading. Graduate Student Camryn Dixon and junior Taylor Jacobson are part of a backline that will miss the tenacity that All-American Jyllissa Harris provided. Fifth-year senior Heather Hines, who recorded 13 shutouts last year, returns between the pipes to anchor the defense.
Saint Louis

Saint Louis looks to be a team that has something to prove which means complacency will not become an issue for the Billikens. A disappointing loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year took the shine off an otherwise outstanding program best 20 win season and left the Billikens wondering what might have been. Saint Louis led the nation in goals per game (2.95) and their goals against average (0.46) was the third best. The offense should again be potent with players who scored 60 of their 65 goals last year returning and their defense should again be stout. Senior Caroline Kelly (13g, 6a), graduate student Emily Groark (8g, 6a) and junior Emily Gaebe (9g, 6a) return up-top. Graduate Students Abbie Miller (6g, 4a) and Anna Lawler (2g, 4a) and redshirt junior Hannah Larson (5g, 4a) are among returning midfielders. Seniors Lyndsey Heckel (6g, 1a) and Sophia Stram (3g, 2a) return in the back and senior Emily Puricelli, a three-year starter, returns in goal.

Northwestern jumped from seven wins in 2021 to 16 wins and a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tourney in 2022. The potential exists for the Wildcats to take another step forward in 2023 with the return of a veteran team that includes nine returning starters. Senior Meg Boade (7g, 2a), a 2022 All-Big Ten First Team selection, returns up top. Graduate Students Aurea del Carmen (6g, 5a) and Lilly Gilbertson (1g, 5a), seniors Josie Aulicino (9g, 10a) and Ingrid Falls (2g, 1a) and sophomore Caterina Regazzoni (3g, 3a), the 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, are among a very talented and deep group of midfielders. The backline looks to be a team strength with the experienced nucleus of graduate student Danika Austin, senior Nicole Doucette and junior Emma Phillips slated to return. Graduate Student Gina Muzi, a transfer from Saint Johns, and sophomore Reiley Fitzpatrick look to be the candidates to assume the starting job in goal.
Penn State

The Nittany Lions will be without the big play ability that Ally Schlegel (13g, 3a) and Penelope Hocking (7g, 11a) provided, but the return of fifth-year senior forward Payton Linnehan (6g, 8a) and the addition of senior Rebecca Cooke who scored 22 goals last year at Quinnipiac should keep the offense performing at a high level. Fifth-year seniors Kate Wiesner (2g, 11a) and Cori Dyke (4g, 1a) and senior Natalie Wilson (1g, 3a) among others return in the midfield along with newcomer fifth-year senior transfer Rowan Lapi from Northwestern. Junior Mieke Schiemann (3g, 6a) and seniors Elle Wheeler and Eva Alonso are among what a solid contingent of defenders along with transfer center back Michela Agresti, a four-year starter at Boston College. Graduate Student Katherine Asman who had a 0.98 goals against average with 9 shutouts returns between the pipes. Opportunity knocks early for the Nittany Lions who host North Carolina in their season opener.

Junior All-American forward Trinity Byars (17g, 9a), junior midfielders Lexi Missimo (6g, 15a) and Jilly Shimkin (7g, 7a) and junior defender EmJ Cox, the 2022 Big 12 Defender of the Year, are among a loaded Texas team that features an exciting core of players. Chances are pretty good that the Longhorns are going to score a lot of goals and win a lot of games in 2023.

Nine starters are slated to return. Senior midfielder Landy Mertz, fifth-year senior forward Amanda West, senior forward Sarah Schupansky (7g, 8a, sophomore defender Katie Zalski, fifth-year midfielders Landy Mertz and Anna Bout and fifth-year defender Ashton Gordon are among a host of returning Panthers who are eager to build on a program best 14 win 2022 season during which they earned the programs first ever NCAA Tournament berth and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The potential exists for Pitt to take another step forward in 2023.

The Hoyas look to again be rock solid on the defensive side of the ball led by graduate students back Julia Leas (3g, 4a) and Allie Augur, the 2022 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. Junior Eliza Turner (2g, 1a) and senior Tatum Lenain (4g, 3a) are among returning midfielders. Uncertainty exists in regard to productivity on the offensive side of the ball which head coach Dave Nolan appears to have addressed at least in part with the addition of several transfers including graduate student forward Allie Winstanley who netted eleven goals at Dartmouth last year.
Michigan State

The Spartans have the momentum that goes with a history making 2022 season during which they had 17 wins, won the program’s first Big Ten regular season title and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. However, much will hinge on their ability to fill the void that exists due to the departure of All-Americans forward Lauren DeBeau, goalkeeper Lauren Kozal and back Ruby Diodati, the Big Ten Defender of the Year. Senior midfielder Justin Gaynor, sophomore midfielder Emerson Sargeant and graduate student defender Raegan Cox are among a solid core of returning players. Head coach Jeff Hosler has added several transfers including graduate student goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks from Wake Forest and senior midfielder Alex Hargrove from UC Riverside who should contribute immediately.

The Tigers played their best soccer of the year at the right time last year winning the AAC Tournament and topping Saint Louis 1-0 and Mississippi State 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers return an experienced and talented group of players on both sides of the ball. Fifth year seniors Mya Jones (9g, 2a) and Saorla Miller(6g, 6a) and juniors Jocelyn Alonzo (6g, 6a) and Momo Nakao (4g, 5a) return to add punch to what should be a balanced attack. Senior backs Grace Stordy and Haylee Spray, three year starters, and redshirt senior goalkeeper Claire Wyville who had a 0.83 goals against average with nine solo shutouts last year returns to anchor the defense.

The Trojans return plenty of skill on both sides of the ball. Junior forward Simone Jackson (6g, 3a), junior midfielder Simi Awujo (2g, 4a), senior back Zoe Burns and junior back Brooklyn Courtnall are among a solid group of returning players who head coach Jane Alukonis will look to as she enters her second season at the head coach at USC. Graduate Student forward Keely Roy who transfers in from California and All-American defender Kayla Duran who is a transfer from Brown are very positive additions.
Santa Clara
The Broncos under head coach Jerry Smith look to be in good shape on the defensive side of the ball but uncertainties exist in regard to offensive productivity. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Marlee Nicolos and senior defenders Marisa Bubnis, Makoto Nezu, and Alyssa Bourgeois return to anchor what should be a solid defense. The departure of All-American forward Izzy D’Aquila (19g, 5a) who had 50 career goals and 16 career assists creates a vacuum on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore forward Farrah Walters (5g, 4a), junior midfielder Colby Barnett (2g, 8a) and midfielder Annie Karich (0g, 8a), the 2022 Big West Conference Freshman of the Year, look to be among the likely candidates to help fill the void. The healthy return of redshirt junior midfielder Sally Menti who missed the 2022 season due to injury and sophomore forward Holly Furphy who missed all but five games due to injury is a big plus.
UC Irvine
Eight players with starting experience return from the 2022 team that came out of nowhere to win the Big West Conference Tournament for the second year in a row and then advanced past USC in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and Brown in the second round before their season came to an end in the Sweet Sixteen. Whether the Anteaters can match the intensity and consistency of play they exhibited in the postseason throughout the 2023 season remains to be seen but in the meantime UC Irvine has earned a little love and standing on the national scene. Redshirt junior forward Alyssa Moore (6g, 0a), junior forward Desiree Mendoza (4g, 1a), fifth-year senior midfielder Gianna Creighton (1g, 1a), junior defender Kiera Smeenge, and graduate student goalkeeper Glo Hinojosa are among key returning players. Transfer graduate student midfielder Madison Goerlinger from Arizona is among the newcomers who should make an impact.

The Crimson return a solid core from the 2022 team that won 12 games, was undefeated in Ivy League play, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior Ainsley Ahmadian (7g, 2a) returns up top. Junior All-American Hannah Bebar (6g, 8a), juniors Josefine Hasbo (6g, 4a) and Aslaug Gunnlaugsdottir (3g, 6a) and senior Ava Lung (2g, 1a) are among returning midfielders. Junior All-American Jade Rose and senior Taylor Farnacht (0g, 1a) return to anchor the backline while senior Anna Karpenko returns in goal.

Seven starters return from the 2022 team that won 14 games and was unbeaten during Big East regular season play. The biggest challenge personnel wise is replacing the playmaking ability that All-American Molly McLaughlin (7g, 4a), the 2022 Big East Midfielder of the Year, brought to the pitch. Junior midfielder Ella Rogers (3g, 5a), senior midfielder Elise Le (0g, 1a) and sophomore forwards Regan Dancer (3g, 1a) and Emma Flick (4g, 3a) are among returning players with the ability to add punch to the offense. Sophomore Maria Galley and defender Natalie Ban (2g, 2a) add stability on the defensive side of the ball. Much will hinge on the bump in play that the younger players get from the year of experience they gained last year.

Eight starters and a solid group of players who saw considerable action are slated to return. The offensive will be explosive led by forwards All-American and two-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Brittany Raphino (10g, 4a) and All-Ivy First Team member Ava Seelenfreund (10g, 1a). Both are three-year starters. Seniors Sheyenne Allen (1g, 6a) and Evelyn Calhoon (1g, 2a) and junior Gianna DePriest (0g, 2a) are among a deep group of returning midfielders. All-American defender Kayla Duran will be missed but a solid group of experienced defenders return including senior Jessica Hinton (0g, 2a), junior Lexi Quinn (1g, 0a) and sophomore Naya Cardoza. Senior Clare Gagne and sophomore Bella Schoop return in goal.

Plenty of talent returns on both sides of the ball. Seniors Morgan Bornkampeg and Makenna Morris (3g, 5a), redshirt senior Harper White (0g, 2a) and junior Layne St. George (0g, 1a) return to give the Tigers an experienced backline. Senior Halle Mackiewicz returns to give the Tigers an experienced and talented shot stopper between the pipes. Graduate Students Caroline Conti (4g, 5a) and Samantha Meredith (3g, 0a) and junior Renee Lyles (4g, 3a) return up top. Graduate Student Hal Hershfelt and sophomore Emily Brough return to set the tone in the midfield. Clemson will be very competitive but their margin for error will again be very slim in the highly competitive ACC.

Fifth year seniors forward Dayana Martin (5g, 5a), defender Olivia Lewis and goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle return to set the pace for the Knights as they make the move from the AAC to the Big 12 in 2023. Senior midfielder Katie Bradley (2g, 2a), redshirt sophomore forward Mia Asenjo and redshirt defender Ariel Young are among other returning players who will be in the mix.

A solid nucleus returns on both sides of the ball for a Portland team that is well positioned and motivated to build on a 12 win 2022 season during which they returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 and advanced to the second round of play. Solid team defense and a balanced attack were the Pilots calling card last year and look to be again in 2023. Senior Nedya Sawan (5g, 2a) and junior Cally Togiai (6g, 4a) and redshirt sophomore Kayla Adams (5g, 3a) return to power the attack up top while senior midfielder Sophia Mattice (1g, 3a) is among others who add balance to the attack. Graduate Student Shay Adams and sophomore Katana Norman return in the back along with junior goalkeeper Bre Norris who had a 0.80 goals against average last year.
West Virginia

The Mountaineers will miss what All-American Jordan Brewster and several others brought to the pitch but the good news is that a proven group of players are slated to return from the 2022 team that won the Big 12 Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown will have plenty of proven talent to work with. Juniors Dilary Heredia-Beltran (2g, 7a) and Aria Bilal (1g, 1a) are among returning forwards. The midfield looks to be deep with the return of seniors AJ Rodriguez (5g, 0a) and Lilly McCarthy (1g, 2a) and fifth-year seniors Maddie Moreau (1g, 0a) and Maya McCutcheon. Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Kayza Massey, the 2022 Big 12 Co-Goalkeeper of the Year, returns to anchor the defense along with fifth-year defender Julianne Vallerand (2g, 3a).

Others Receiving Votes : Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia, Rutgers, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, SMU, Lamar, New Mexico State, FGCU

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Posted in CSN Preseason Top 30 Poll

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