Aug. 9, 2006
FULLERTON, CA - The Cal State Fullerton women's soccer team received two first-place votes and was picked to finish second in the Big West Conference in 2006 according to a poll of the league's coaches released on Wednesday afternoon by the conference office.
Arch-rival Long Beach State, which finished third in the league standings last season, received three of the eight first-place votes and 56 points overall to finish atop the preseason poll for the first time in school history.
The Titans, who garnered 48 points overall, are right behind the 49ers after winning at least a share of the last two Big West regular season championships and the 2005 conference tournament championship.
UC Santa Barbara followed in third place with 42 points with Cal Poly, which received two first-place votes, in fourth place with 41 points overall.
Pacific (35 points, one first-place vote) follows in fifth place followed by UC Riverside (34 points), Cal State Northridge (20 points), and UC Irvine (12 points) to round out the poll.
Cal State Fullerton returns just four starters and 11 letterwinners off of last season's squad which finished 19-4 overall and 6-1 in Big West Conference play to top off the finest season in school history.
The Titans finished the 2005 season ranked as high as No. 11 nationally and became the first Big West school to reach the "Sweet 16" round of the NCAA Tournament, posting wins over UNLV and Southern California before falling to No. 6-ranked Virginia in Charlottesville.
Two-time Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Karen Bardsley (16-4, 0.64 GAA, 10 shutouts in 2005) leads a returning group of Titans that also features All-Big West Conference First Team honorees midfielder Lauryn Welch (9 goals, 22 points, Big West Tournament MVP in 2005) and defender Erica Janke.
Fullerton officially opens the 2006 season on Sunday (Aug. 27) at 1 p.m. against former Big West foe Idaho at Titan Stadium.
2006 BIG WEST WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
1. Long Beach State (3) - 56 points
2. Cal State Fullerton (2) - 48
3. UC Santa Barbara - 42
4. Cal Poly (2) - 41
5. Pacific (1) - 35
6. UC Riverside - 34
7. Cal State Northridge - 20
8. UC Irvine - 12
( ) denotes first-place votes