Women's Soccer selected to win Big West Conference in Preseason Coaches Poll
July 31, 2012
IRVINE, Calif. - The Long Beach State women's soccer team, winners of the last two Big West Conference Tournament championships, was picked to finish in first place in the Big West Preseason Coaches Poll that was released by the league office on Tuesday.
LBSU received nine of the 10 first-place votes for a total of 99 points. This is the first time since the 2007 season that the 49ers are favored to win the conference. LBSU captured five first-place votes (77 points) in 2007 and three votes (56 points) in 2006, when the 49ers were also picked to finish in first.
UC Irvine was selected to finish in second, grabbing the other first place vote with 86 points, followed by Cal State Fullerton in third with 71. Cal State Northridge was picked to finish in fourth with 69 points, with UC Santa Barbara in fifth with 53 points. Cal Poly grabbed the sixth spot (48), while UC Davis and Pacific were tied for seventh (44) and UC Riverside and conference newcomer Hawai'i were paired for the ninth position (18).
LBSU is coming off of a memorable postseason run from last season, when the 49ers defended their Big West Tournament title to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season (third in four years), and recorded the program's first postseason victory at No. 7 Pepperdine in the first of three victories that saw LBSU advance to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Link was named Big West Offensive Player of the Year, first-team All-West Region and was a first-team All-Big West selection in 2011. The Rowland Heights native amassed 16 goals, 10 assists and 42 points. She tied the 27-year old school record for goals in a season and became just the third 49er, and first since the program was reinstated in 1998, to reach double figures in both goals and assists. Link was named to 2011 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Women's Division I All-America Team, becoming the third All-American in school history.
Balcer was a first-team All-Big West and second-team All-West Region pick and was named the 2011 Big West Tournament MVP. The Tucson, Ariz. native helped anchor a 49er defense that posted a league-best 12 shutouts and 0.79 goals against average. Balcer recorded one goal and four assists last season. Balcer was named to the 2011 NSCAA Women's College Scholar All-America Team and was selected to the University Division Third Team.
LBSU hosts future Big West member San Diego State in a scrimmage at George Allen Field on Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. The 49ers officially opens the 2012 campaign a week later hosting Pac-12 member Arizona on Friday, Aug. 17.
2012 Big West Conference Preseason Coaches Poll