The California Lutheran women's soccer team was voted to finish first in the 2018 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Preseason Poll following a vote conducted by the league's head coaches.
Cal Lutheran, which received eight first place votes and 80 total points in the preseason voting, posted a 16-4-3 overall record in 2017, highlighted by a 11-1-2 mark in SCIAC play en route to garnering the top seed in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. Despite falling to fourth-seeded Whittier, 3-2 in extra time in the semifinals, the Regals earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Championship and advanced to the third round of the national tournament. Cal Lutheran dispatched UC Santa Cruz, 2-0, before advancing past Pacific Lutheran on penalty kicks following a 1-1 double-overtime draw with the Lutes. In the third round matchup with Williams, the Regals fell, 4-0 to the Ephs.
Pomona-Pitzer received the only other first place vote in the preseason rankings and logged 71 points in total and was voted to finish second. The Sagehens tallied a 10-8-3 overall record in 2017, were 6-5-3 in conference play, and captured the second seed in the conference tournament. After edging third-seeded Redlands, 2-1 in the semifinals, Pomona-Pitzer fell to Whittier in the tournament championship contest in a 1-0 thriller. The Bulldogs, who finished third in the standings a year ago (9-8-1, 6-7-1 SCIAC), is picked to finish third in 2018 after securing 58 total points in the preseason vote.
Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) was voted to finish fourth ahead of the upcoming season after receiving 53 points. The Athenas finished sixth a year ago (6-7-5, 4-5-5 SCIAC). The Poets - the 2017 conference tournament champions as the fourth seed - are tabbed to finish fifth this year after receiving 40 points in the preseason vote. Whittier finished its superb 2017 season 12-9-0 overall, 6-8 in league play, and earned the SCIAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, but fell to Pacific Lutheran, 4-0 in the opening round of the national playoffs.
Occidental edged La Verne for sixth place in the preseason voting, 35-34, while Chapman secured the eighth spot in the preseason rankings with 25 points. Caltech rounds out the list with nine points, competing in the league officially for the first time.
The 2018 seasons gets underway Wednesday, August 29 when La Verne hosts St. Katherine in a non-conference contest at 7 p.m., while seven other SCIAC teams are in action Friday, August 31. Cal Lutheran enters the new season ranked 19th in the United Soccer Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll.
2018 SCIAC Preseason Poll
1. Cal Lutheran (8) - 80 points
2. Pomona-Pitzer (1) - 71 points
3. Redlands - 58 points
4. CMS - 53 points
5. Whittier - 40 points
6. Occidental - 35 points
7. La Verne - 34 points
8. Chapman - 25 points
9. Caltech - 9 points