The UC Irvine women’s soccer team proved the pundits wrong last season and will hope to do so again, after being picked to finish fifth in the nine-team Big West Conference in the coaches’ preseason poll released Tuesday.
UCI, which finished tied for third in the Big West after being picked to finish last in 2007, received 40 points in this year’s poll. UC Santa Barbara (74 points), two-time defending regular-season champion Long Beach State (73), as well as 2007 conference tournament finalists Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (62) and Cal State Fullerton (60) are expected to finish ahead of the Anteaters.
Pacific (30 points), Cal State Northridge (26), UC Riverside (25) and UC Davis (15), respectively, round out the poll.
UCI, under second-year coach Scott Juniper, was 11-7-2, 5-2-1 in conference, last season. The 11 wins nearly equaled the program’s combined total of the previous three seasons, in which it was 12-39-5.