Willamette Women's Soccer Team is Tied for Third in NWC Preseason Poll

Bearcats were 11-8-1 in 2011, including 10-5-1 in the Conference

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's soccer team is tied for third in the 2012 Northwest Conference Women's Soccer Preseason Poll, in voting by the NWC head coaches. Willamette went 11-8-1 overall last season, including a third place finish in the NWC at 10-5-1 (31 points).

University of Puget Sound, which won the 2011 NWC championship with a 12-2-2 record, was picked to win the its 11th consecutive title after receiving six first place votes and 66 points in the poll. One of the Loggers' two losses in conference play was to Willamette, 2-1, at Sparks Field on Oct. 23. Puget Sound finished last season with a 14-3-3 overall record.

Linfield College (14-3-3, 11-2-3 NWC) was listed second in the poll with three first place votes and 62 points. Last fall, the Wildcats defeated Puget Sound, 2-1, on Sept. 18.

Willamette and Whitworth (8-6-4, 8-4-4 NWC) tied for third in the poll with 46 points. The Bearcats edged out the Pirates for third place in the final NWC standings last season. The teams split their head-to-head matches, with Whitworth winning 3-1 on Oct. 9 in Spokane, Wash., and Willamette claiming a 2-0 victory on Nov. 4 in Salem, Ore.

Fifth place in the poll went to Pacific University (10-6-4, 7-5-4) with 36 points. The Boxers were followed by Whitman College (8-10-2, 6-8-2) in sixth place with 28 points and by Pacific Lutheran University (4-13-1, 3-12-1) in seventh place with 21 points.

George Fox University (2-12-6, 2-10-4) held the eighth spot in the poll with 15 points. Lewis & Clark College (3-15-2, 2-13-1) was ninth in the poll with 13 points.

Willamette Head Coach Hillary Arthur, who was chosen NWC Women's Soccer Coach of the Year in 2011, is beginning her fifth season with the Bearcats. She has a solid group of returning players, including midfielder Andi Rowan (Sr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS), who earned Second Team All-NWC honors each of the past three seasons.

Rowan tallied one goal and three assists last year. She also anchored the midfield on defense.

Other returning players include five Honorable Mention All-NWC selections from last fall. They are Shannon Scott (Sr., D, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS), Ariel Wilson (Sr., MF, Fort Collins, CO/Poudre HS), Sabine Wetzel (Jr., D/MF, Martinez, CA/Campolindo HS), Ashland Bernard (So., F, Kirkland, WA/Juanita HS) and Sarah Desautels (So., F, Snohomish, WA/Glacier Peak HS).

Wilson ranked second on the 2011 Bearcat squad in scoring with three goals and five assists for 11 total points. Desautels also tallied three goals to go with two assists. Bernard achieved two goals and one assist, while Wetzel recorded one goal and one assist. Scott earned one goal and played defense for the Bearcats during every minute of every game (1831).

The Bearcats will open the 2012 season at home on Friday, Aug. 31, when they will host crosstown rival Corban University. Game time at Sparks Field is set for 7 p.m. (PDT).

2012 NWC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
(1st place votes in parentheses)

1. Puget Sound (6), 66 points, 14-3-3 overall, 12-2-2 NWC in 2011
2. Linfield (3), 62 points, 14-3-3, 11-2-3 NWC
3. Willamette, 46 points, 11-8-1, 10-5-1 NWC
3. Whitworth, 46 points, 8-6-4, 8-4-4 NWC
5. Pacific, 36 points, 10-6-4, 7-5-4 NWC
6. Whitman, 28 points, 8-10-2, 6-8-2 NWC
7. Pacific Lutheran, 21 points, 4-13-1, 3-12-1 NWC
8. George Fox, 15 points, 2-12-6, 2-10-4 NWC
9. Lewis & Clark, 13 points, 3-15-2, 2-13-1 NWC

Note: Points were awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. The coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Sarah Desautels scored three goals and added two assists for the Bearcats as a freshman last season.

Sarah Desautels scored three goals and added two assists for the Bearcats as a freshman last season.