WU Women's Soccer is Ranked Third in NWC Preseason Poll

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's soccer team holds a solid third place ranking in the 2010 Northwest Conference Women's Soccer Preseason Poll, as determined in voting by the league's head coaches. Willamette finished third in the NWC standings in 2009, as the Bearcats went 8-7-1 against conference opponents. The Bearcats were 9-9-2 overall.

At the top of this year's preseason poll is defending champion University of Puget Sound, which received all nine first place votes and 90 points. The Loggers won the NWC with a 15-1 record last fall, while going 18-2 overall. UPS has won eight consecutive NWC championships.

Whitworth University is ranked second in the poll with 72 points. The Pirates were second in the conference in 2009 with a 14-2 record on their way to a 17-3 overall mark.

Willamette is ranked third with 55 points, while Linfield (10-9-1 in 2009, 7-8-1 NWC) is listed fourth with 49 points. Close behind Linfield is Whitman College (8-9-2, 7-8-1 NWC) in fifth with 48 points in the poll. Pacific University (7-10-3, 6-8-2 NWC) is sixth with 34 points and Pacific Lutheran University (5-13-1, 4-10-1 NWC) is seventh with 29 points.

George Fox University (7-12, 4-11 NWC) is picked to finish eighth in the conference. GFU received 19 points in the poll. Lewis & Clark (3-12-5, 2-12-1 NWC) is listed ninth with 12 points.

Willamette will be led by returning midfielder Stephanie Skelly (Jr., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) who led the Bearcats in scoring with six goals and 12 total points. She was named First Team All-Northwest Conference.

Andrea Rowan (So., MF, Boise, ID/Timberline HS), who tallied three goals and two assists (8 points) for the Bearcats, also returns after earning Second Team All-NWC honors. Alex Batzer (Sr., F, Medford, OR/North Medford HS) enters her senior season for WU with 12 goals and three assists (27 points) in her career. She recorded three goals and one assist in 2009, and was chosen Honorable Mention All-NWC.

Head Coach Hillary Arthur enters her third season with the Bearcats. She has an overall record of 21-17-2 at Willamette, including 18-13-1 in NWC action.

NWC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll (1st place votes in parentheses)
1. Puget Sound (9), 90 points, 18-2 overall, 15-1 NWC in 2009
2. Whitworth, 72 points, 17-3, 14-2 NWC
3. Willamette, 55 points, 9-9-2, 8-7-1 NWC
4. Linfield, 49 points, 10-9-1, 7-8-1 NWC
5. Whitman, 48 points, 8-9-2, 7-8-1 NWC
6. Pacific, 34 points, 7-10-3, 6-8-2 NWC
7. Pacific Lutheran, 29 points, 5-13-1, 4-10-1 NWC
8. George Fox, 19 points, 7-12, 4-11 NWC
9. Lewis & Clark, 12 points, 3-12-5, 2-12-1 NWC

Note: Points were awarded on a 10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

First Team All-NWC selection Stephanie Skelly returns for her senior season. She has 12 goals and 3 assists in her career.

First Team All-NWC selection Stephanie Skelly returns for her senior season. She has 12 goals and 3 assists in her career.