Women's Soccer Ready for 2016
Aug. 11, 2016
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga women's soccer team begins their new season in the Outrigger Resorts Soccer Classic versus Nevada on Aug. 19.
The Zags make their first-ever appearance in Hawaii in a pair of games played on a neutral field in Waipahu. At the season-opening tournament hosted by the University of Hawaii, GU faces Nevada and Oregon.
Gonzaga returns 18 letterwinners, including seven starters, from last year's team. Last season, seven of the Bulldogs' opponents moved on to the NCAA Tournament, while the West Coast Conference continued its reputation as one of most difficult in the nation. The WCC sent a trio of teams to the NCAA Tournament.
This season, the Bulldogs return key contributors and welcome nine newcomers. The 2016 roster features 18 underclassmen, including nine freshmen. GU also has the experience and leadership of nine seniors.
Following last season, Karley Baggerly was tabbed Second Team All-West Coast Conference. She was second in the WCC with eight goals in the regular season, and was second in the conference averaging 1.47 shots on goal per game. Her 18 points were the third-most in the conference during the regular season, while her 52 shots were fifth.
Baggerly, who was also named Academic All-WCC, moved to fourth on the program's all-time list with 18 goals scored in her career. The senior is also fourth on the all-time list with 45 points, and her 123 total shots are sixth in program history. Baggerly's eight goals and 18 points this season were both the sixth-most in a single season in GU history.
Aliyah Miller was tabbed honorable mention All-Conference last season. She totaled five points with two goals and an assist. Against nationally-ranked Washington, the senior scored a goal and had an assist. She was a key part to the Zags' midfield and defense in 2015. She started in all 19 games for GU, playing 1,741 minutes, the second-most of any field player.
Along with Miller, Gonzaga returns other key members of its defense in 2016. Sarah Carter, Ariana Pumpelly, Jodi Ulkekul and Savanah Van Citters all appeared in every game last season. Carter's 1,831 minutes were the most played on the team. She played all but 13 minutes last year, and has appeared in all 57 GU games during the last three seasons.
The West Coast Conference released its annual preseason poll Thursday. The Zags were selected ninth in the league. Defending conference champion, BYU, received eight first-place votes. The Cougars enter the season ranked No. 16 in the preseason NSCAA poll and shared the conference championship hardware in 2012 and 2013 before winning the title outright in both 2014 and 2015.
BYU earned 80 points and eight first place votes while No. 21 Santa Clara collected 71 points with two first place votes. Pepperdine earned 56 points to take third while No. 25 Loyola Marymount was fourth with 52 points. The Cougars, Broncos and Lions all represented the WCC in the NCAA postseason with all three teams earning at least one win in the postseason tournament.
BYU had four players named to the All-WCC Preseason Team, led by last season's conference Player of the Year, Nadia Gomes. Santa Clara placed a pair of players on the preseason team.
2016 WEST COAST CONFERENCE WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
2016 ALL-WCC PRESEASON WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM
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