OGDEN, Utah – After a second place finish in the Big Sky Conference in 2013, the 2014 Northern Arizona women's soccer team has been picked to finish third this season. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team in the preseason poll, which was released Wednesday by the league office.
The Lumberjacks made a big jump in the standings from 2012 to 2013 as they improved from five wins to 11 victories and earned a spot in the Big Sky Championships for the first time since 2010. This year's squad returns six All-Big Sky Conference selections from last year that includes Savannah Berry, Diane Buzzard, Cierra Gamble, Danny Muniz, Sarah Tarver and Haley Wingender.
Head coach Andre Luciano and his staff added 11 freshman creating competition at every spot on the field. The class of 2014 will provide depth at the forward position adding four and also at defender with four newcomers looking to secure the backline.
Picked to finish first in the Big Sky are the defending regular season champions, Portland State who earned 93 points and five first-place votes. Coming in second right above NAU is Weber State who return as the Big Sky Conference Champions and represented the conference in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lumberjacks open the season on the pitch Aug. 15 when they face Arizona State. The Lumberjacks' first Big Sky matchup is against Portland State at home on Sept. 27.
School/Number of Votes (First place votes in parenthesis)
1. Portland State 93 (5)
2. Weber State 92 (5)
3. Northern Arizona 86 (1)
4. Northern Colorado 69
5. Montana 62
6. Idaho State 52
7. Sacramento State 51
8. Southern Utah 32
9. Idaho 29
10. Eastern Washington 27
11. North Dakota 12