NWC WOMEN’S SOCCER | Lutes Picked to Repeat in 2017

The Pacific Lutheran women’s soccer team has been picked to win a second straight Northwest Conference title, according to a preseason poll of the NWC’s nine head coaches.
The Pacific Lutheran women’s soccer team has been picked to win a second straight Northwest Conference title, according to a preseason poll of the NWC’s nine head coaches.

Rk.

Team (1st)

Pts.

2016 Rec. (NWC)

1.

Pacific Lutheran (8)

72

16-1-4 (13-0-3)

2.

Puget Sound

54

13-4-3 (10-3-3)

3.

Whitworth (1)

50

10-10-0 (9-7-0)

4.

Linfield

40

8-9-3 (8-5-3)

5.

Willamette

34

9-8-3 (6-7-3)

6.

George Fox

25

3-14-13 (3-11-2)

7.

Lewis & Clark

22

6-12-2 (5-9-2)

8.

Pacific (Ore.)

21

7-10-3 (5-9-2)

9.

Whitman

15

3-15-2 (3-11-2)

(Points awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.)

 

HILLSBORO, Ore. — The Pacific Lutheran women’s soccer team has been picked to win a second straight Northwest Conference title, according to a preseason poll of the NWC’s nine head coaches.

Pacific Lutheran snapped Puget Sound’s 14-year streak of conference crowns last season and is projected to repeat atop the conference table after earning eight first place votes and 72 total points in the preseason poll of coaches. The Lutes finished 2016 undefeated in conference play before reaching the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championships and falling in the opening round 1-0 to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Reigning NWC Offensive Player of the Year, Machaela Graddy (Sr., Eatonville, Wash.) will lead the Lutes into 2017 following a 13 goal and eight assist showing in 2016.

Puget Sound enters 2017 in an unfamiliar position as the projected second place team in the preseason poll with 54 total points. The Loggers finished nine points behind the Lutes a season ago and return one First Team All-NWC player to the fold in defender Emma Donckels (Sr., Los Altos, Calif.). Donckels and the Puget Sound defense had the second best shutout percentage in the NWC last season.

Whitworth received one first place vote and 50 total points to be picked to finish third in the coaches’ poll. The Pirates are set to return a duo of First Team All-NWC performers in midfielder Kathryn Bischoff (Jr., Spokane, Wash.) and forward Arielle Van Peursem (Jr., Bothell, Wash.). Van Peursem tallied seven goals for Whitworth last season.

Linfield came it at four in the preseason poll with 40 points, after finishing tied for third last season with Whitworth. The Widlcats will look to last season’s NWC Freshman of the Year to lead the squad into 2017, as midfielder Taylor Cole (So., Sherwood, Ore.) led Linfield with four goals last year. 

Willamette was projected to finish fifth with 34 points following a fifth place finish a season ago. Forward Emmy Manset (Sr., Ventura, Calif.), a First Team All-NWC selection in 2016, returns for Willamette following a seven-goal showing as a junior.

Spots six through eight were separated by less than five points and headlined by George Fox at six with 25 points. The Bruins return Second Team All-NWC defender Emma Weme (Sr., Sandpoint, Idaho) to the pitch in 2017.

Lewis & Clark was predicted to slot in at seventh with 22 points. The Pioneers will lean on Honorable Mention All-NWC midfield selection Caroline Hennes (So., Seattle, Wash.).

Pacific (Ore.) received 21 points and was picked to finish eighth and returns defender Adina Goodwin (Jr., Tualatin, Ore.), a 2016 Honorable Mention All-NWC selection. 

Whitman wraps up the preseason poll in ninth with 15 points after graduating one second team all-conference honoree and two honorable mention selections.

The Northwest Conference regular season champion receives the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Championship.

Pacific Lutheran won its 11th NWC overall crown and first since 1992, while ending Puget Sound’s streak of 14 consecutive conference titles.

The NWC soccer season gets underway on September 1 with eight matches scheduled with Pacific Lutheran, Pacific (Ore.), Whitworth, Linfield and Puget Sound heading on the road, while Lewis & Clark, George Fox and Willamette open the year at home. Pacific Lutheran visits Franklin & Marshall, Pacific heads to Evergreen State, Whitworth travels to Wheaton (Ill.), while Linfield heads to Northwest (Wash.) and Puget Sound goes south to Pomona-Pitzer. Lewis & Clark will play host to Hamline, George Fox will be visited by Hamline and Willamette welcomes Northwest Christian.

Conference fixtures get underway on Sept. 13 when Pacific hosts George Fox. The full conference slate will kickoff on Sept. 16.