In a vote by the league’s eight head coaches, Seattle University women’s soccer was chosen to win the 2014 Western Athletic Conference women’s soccer title, repeating their title win from last season. Stephanie Verdoia (Salt Lake City, Utah), the reigning WAC Offensive Player of the Year, was also chosen as Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.

The Redhawks received all seven possible first place votes, as coaches could not vote for their own teams, leading the way with 49 points. Utah Valley received one first place vote and earned 41 points, finishing second, followed by Kansas City with 35 points. Bakersfield (29 points) finished fourth followed by Grand Canyon (24 points), New Mexico State (21 points), Texas Pan-American (14 points), and Chicago State (11 points) rounding out the poll.

Seattle U also led all teams with five Preseason All-WAC honorees including redshirt senior Jacqui Wallis (Lake Oswego, Ore.), senior Verdoia, juniors Kelly Beck (Tacoma, Wash.) and Brianna Smallidge (Port Orchard, Wash.), and redshirt sophomore Natasha Howe (Mission Viejo, Calif.).

SU returns six of 11 starters from the 2013 team that went 17-3-2 and finished first in WAC play with the conference’s first 12-0-0 record. The Redhawks also became the first Seattle U women’s team to reach the NCAA Division I tournament as they faced Portland at historic Merlo Field in Nov. 2013.

Verdoia, a two-time First Team All-WAC honoree, led the conference with 42 points, 15 goals, and 12 assists in 2013. She was also named to the Capital One Academic All-America Third Team and earned the WAC’s Joe Kearney Award, given annually to the top male and female student-athletes in the conference.

Seattle U officially begins their season on Friday, Aug. 22 as they host Idaho at 5 p.m. and will kick off their WAC schedule hosting Utah Valley on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 12 p.m. The Redhawks will also host the six-team WAC Women’s Soccer Tournament on Nov. 6-7 and 9.

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