Women's soccer picked second in WAC preseason poll

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Senior GK Lauren Sack was named to the All-WAC preseason team
Senior GK Lauren Sack was named to the All-WAC preseason team

Aug. 12, 2013

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DENVER -- Utah Valley University women's soccer has been selected to finish in a tie for second in the Western Athletic Conference in 2013, as voted upon by the league's coaches. Released Monday, the 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll also named UVU's Lexi Robison and Lauren Sack to the WAC preseason all-conference team.

"Lexi and Lauren have both worked extremely hard for this team and I'm very happy for them," said UVU head coach Brent Anderson. "It is an honor to have such a high ranking to start the season especially with so many quality teams in the WAC. The girls have prepared well for the upcoming season and we are really looking forward to testing ourselves in the new conference."

Seattle -- the top finisher of the WAC's returning members from a season ago -- was selected to finish first, capturing six of a possible seven first-place votes and 36 total points. The Redhawks return seven of their 11 starters from a 2012 squad that went 9-9-2 and finished fourth in the WAC.

Seattle also swept the top individual preseason awards with junior forward Stephanie Verdoia taking Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors and senior midfielder Julia Besagno picked as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

UVU enters its inaugural WAC season off a 2012 campaign in which it finished 9-11-1 overall, but a perfect 5-0-0 in Great West Conference play. The Wolverines swept both the GWC regular season title and tournament championship for the second straight year. In only allowing one goal during UVU's flawless league run, Sack, now a senior goalkeeper, was awarded GWC Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Junior midfielder Robison earned first team All-GWC honors in 2012.

The Wolverines received one first-place vote in the poll -- the only school besides top-pick Seattle to do so.

Places second through fifth were decided by a margin of three points as Idaho, earning 23 points, finished alongside Utah Valley in a tie for second. The Vandals went 3-4-1 in WAC play in 2012, good enough for sixth in the final standings. CSU Bakersfield, another WAC newcomer, was selected to finish fourth with 22 points, while fifth-place belonged to New Mexico State and its 21 points. Rounding out the poll were Kansas City in sixth with 13 points and Grand Canyon in seventh with nine points.

A second-place tie for UVU would be enough to qualify the Wolverines for the 2013 WAC Soccer Tournament, which takes place in Las Cruces, N.M., on Nov. 8 and 10, and will be decided between the top four regular season finishers.

The 2013 WAC women's soccer season kicks off Aug. 23 with all seven of the league's teams in action. Utah Valley opens the season that day in El Paso, Texas, against the Miners of UTEP.

2013 WAC Preseason Coaches' Poll

Rank Team Points
1. Seattle U (6) 36
T2. Idaho 23
T2. Utah Valley (1) 23
4. Bakersfield 22
5. New Mexico State 21
6. Kansas City 13
7. Grand Canyon 9

2013 Preseason All-WAC Team

Player Yr. Pos. School
Stephanie Verdoia Jr. F Seattle U
Emily Noethe Jr. F Bakersfield
Layla Todd Jr. F New Mexico State
Lexi Robison Jr. MF Utah Valley
Julia Besagno Sr. MF Seattle U
Erica Shelton Sr. MF Bakersfield
Katie Baran Jr. MF Idaho
Nitalia Zuniga Sr. D Idaho
Mary Hill Sr. D Seattle U
Chelsie Breen Sr. D Idaho
Lauren Sack Sr. GK Utah Valley

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Stephanie Verdoia, Jr., F, Seattle U

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Julia Besagno, Sr., MF, Seattle U