IRVINE, Calif. — The University of Hawai’i women’s soccer team has been selected to finish fifth in the 2014 Big West Conference Preseason Poll as determined by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. The 2013 regular-season champion, Cal Poly, was selected as a repeat winner of the conference title.
The Rainbow Wahine enter their third season in the Big West. UH finished 8-8-1 overall in 2013 and finished tied for fifth in the Big West (3-4-1) after being picked to finish seventh in the preseason. In 2012, UH placed sixth (3-5-1) in conference after being pegged to finish tied for ninth in the preseason. Fourth-year head coach Michele Nagamine will have 18 letterwinners and seven starters returning on her active roster heading into this season. A total of six newcomers also join the team.
Cal Poly received six first-place votes in ballots among the Big West’s nine head coaches for a total of 77 points. UC Irvine received two first-place votes with 64 points while Long Beach State collected 59 points for third place. Cal State Fullerton, the 2013 Big West Tournament champion, received a first-place vote of its own and finished out the top four teams with 58 points. Hawai’i (37 points), UC Santa Barbara (30), CSUN (27), UC Davis (27) and UC Riverside (26) rounded out the preseason poll.
The coaches also selected a 11-player preseason all-conference team with sophomore forward Kama Pascua making the list. The native of Waipahu, O’ahu was named to the all-Big West freshman team last year after tallying four goals and one assist. With senior Tiana Fujimoto redshirting this year, Pascau is the team’s leading returning scorer.
The preseason all-conference team revealed top talent throughout the league with representation of seven different schools. Cal Poly placed three players on the squad (Megan Abutin, Alyssa Giannetti, Elise Krieghoff) while UC Irvine (Laura McGrail, Cami Privett) and Long Beach State (Taylor Nelson, Mimi Rangel) had two apiece. Cal State Fullerton’s Chelsey Patterson, Indiana Mead of UC Santa Barbara, Tyler Cunningham of UC Riverside and Pascua rounded out the list.
The Rainbow Wahine are less than two weeks away from their season opener versus Arizona State on Sunday, Aug. 24 in the Outrigger Resorts Shootout. UH will open up Big West play at home against Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Oct. 2.
2014 Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st place votes) – Points
1. Cal Poly (6) – 77
2. UC Irvine (2) -64
3. Long Beach State – 59
4. Cal State Fullerton (1) – 58
5. Hawai’i – 37
6. UCSB – 30
7. Cal State Northridge – 27
UC Davis – 27
9. UC Riverside – 26