According to a poll of league coaches, Cal State Stanislaus has been picked to claim the 2014 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) women's soccer title, it was announced Tuesday.
The 2014 CCAA Women's Soccer schedule and Championship tournament will take new form with each institution facing their Conference opponents just once during regular-season play and six squads clinching a post-season spot.
This year's poll predicts an all-out battle for the Conference title with just seven points separating the first and fifth place finishers.
Leading the 12 squads was defending CCAA Champion Cal State Stanislaus with 103 points and four first-place votes, edging Sonoma State which recorded 100 points and garnered three first-place votes.
The Warriors are ranked No. 11 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Preseason poll.
Also snagging first-place votes were NCAA West Region runner-up Cal State San Bernardino (1), Cal State L.A. (2), and UC San Diego (2). The Coyotes were selected to finish third overall with 98 points, followed closely by the Golden Eagles with 97 points, and the Tritons with 96 points.
Rounding out the top half of the standings was Chico State 64 points, followed by Cal Poly Pomona (58), Cal State Monterey Bay (49), Cal State Dominguez Hills (38), San Francisco State (37), Cal State East Bay (32), and Humboldt State (20).
Cal State Stanislaus is coming off of an outstanding 18-1-2 season, which included its fourth-straight Conference Tournament berth and the Warriors second NCAA tournament appearance since head coach Gabriel Bolton was named head coach in 2006.
Despite graduating four-time All-American and 2013 NCAA Division II National Player of the Year Karenee Demery, the Warriors bring back a number of starters including CCAA goals-against average leader Chelsea Lewandowski along with key seniors in Katelyn Nebesnick, Karli Nestler, Lauren Thornton, and Tina Benson.
Sonoma State is predicted to make its third straight CCAA and NCAA appearance. Head coach Emiria Salzmann-Dunn will look to senior and reigning CCAA Newcomer of the Year Lauren Curtin to lead the Seawolves offensively. Curtin wrapped up the 2013 season with eight goals and nine assists.
Cal State San Bernardino recorded its best season in program history, making its first-ever CCAA Championship appearance and earning just its second NCAA Tournament appearance. Although CCAA Defensive Player of the Year, goalkeeper Chelsey Jones will not be returning to this year's squad, the Coyotes bring back top players in CCAA Freshman of the Year Kiana Quarles and senior Jasmine Williams. Quarles scored a team-best seven goals during her rookie season, while Williams scored four times and dished out a team-high five assists on the season.
Two CCAA teams begin the 2014 campaign ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire NCAA Division II Preseason national rankings. The Warriors are ranked No. 11, while the Coyotes debut at No. 17.
The 2014 season begins on Sept. 4 with 10-of-12 teams in action. All institutions will kickoff CCAA play on Sept. 26.