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Portland Pilots Open Season Ranked #11 in Pre-Season PollSalem-News.com Sports
Portland's roster features a heralded sophomore class that was ranked fifth in the nation.
(PORTLAND, Ore. ) - The Portland Pilots women's soccer team, which is ranked No. 11 in the NSCAA's preseason poll, opened the 2014 campaign on Wednesday afternoon with the first official training at the Clive Charles Soccer Complex.
The Pilots will look to defend their WCC title in 2014 after claiming a share of the conference crown last season. The Pilots return 12 letterwinners and seven starters from a team that reached the second round of the NCAA playoffs for the 14th straight year. Portland has secured a playoff berth during 21 of the past 22 seasons and the Pilots claimed the NCAA National Championship in both 2002 and 2005. Portland's roster features a heralded sophomore class that was ranked fifth in the nation entering UP as freshmen last fall. Sophomore midfielder Allison Wetherington was named the 2013 WCC Freshman of the Year, while fellow sophomores Ellie Boon (All-WCC Honorable Mention), Danica Evans (All-WCC Honorable Mention) and Ariel Viera (WCC All-Freshman Team) also garnered all-league recognition.
Evans is Portland's top returning goal scorer after registering five goals during her freshman campaign, and she also tied for the team-high with seven assists. Portland's roster also features a trio of seniors in defender Lorielle McCluskie and midfielders Rebekah Kurle and Emily Sippel. Kurle and McCluskie have combined to make 96 starts and 107 appearances during their three years together on The Bluff, while Sippel scored three goals and had five assists as a junior last fall. Head coach Garrett Smith, who was named the WCC Coach of the Year in 2013 for the sixth time in his career, enters his 12th year at the helm of the Pilots. Smith has posted a career overall record of 193-38-17 (.813), while guiding the Pilots to a remarkable 65-9-7 (.846) mark in the WCC. The Pilots will open the 2014 schedule with a trip east to battle 2013 NCAA runner-up and No. 2 ranked Florida State on Friday, Aug. 22, before returning home to host No. 6 Stanford on Saturday, Aug. 30.
This year's schedule features nine home matches at Merlo Field, five games against 2013 NCAA playoff teams and three games each against teams from the ACC and the Pac-12.
Portland will also host Kentucky in an exhibition match at Merlo Field on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7:00 p.m.
Source: University of Portland Athletics
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