Opponent Preview: Part 2/2

(Photo by BYU Design/Jeff Wood)

The BYU women's soccer team's 2012 schedule features nine teams that made an appearance in the 2011 NCAA Women’s College Cup, eight conference opponents, four teams that finished ranked in the nation’s Top 25, two teams that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, and 11 chances for the huge South Stadium crowds to see the team play at home.

Below is an in-depth look at the team's opponents for the second half of the 2012 schedule. 

UVU, september 27

Utah Valley University went 12-8-1 in 2011 and return its top two goal scorers for the 2012 season in Natalie Young and Regan Clifford Benson. Young had 12 goals last season and Benson contributed seven. 

The Wolverines also return seven other players who scored a goal last year but none of them had more than five. 

In the Great West Conference's three years of existence, the UVU women's soccer team has won the tournament championship the last two years. Also in 2011the team won the regular season GWC title and set a school record for its 12 wins in the year. 

Santa Clara, october 5

The Broncos have reigned atop the West Coast Conference since forever ago, with last season marking their 23rd trip to the NCAA tournament. They're not up there alone anymore though with Portland, San Diego, Pepperdine, BYU and others challenging them for the top spot. 

Santa Clara was chosen first in the WCC Preseason Poll and was ranked No. 17 in the NSCAA Preseason Poll. Returning Starters Julie Johnston and Sofia Huerta played at the U-20 National championships and the team missed their best goal scorers as they went 3-2-2 without them. 

It seems the only bump for Santa Clara in 2012 will be its new goalie and loss of two starters on their back line but with junior Johnston and sophomore Huerta, the team's ability to score is 100 percent intact. Johnston had nine goals in 2011 and Huerta had eight. 

San Francisco, october 11

San Francisco was picked 8th in this season's West Coast Conference Preseason Poll after another disappointing, but normal, season without a trip to the NCAA tournament. The Dons are the only team in the conference to not have made a trip to the NCAA tournament. 

With a new coach at the helm, the program looks to build anew in 2012. Junior Christina Moberg, as a rookie in 2010, had three goals and three assists so hopefully there's a spot for her to shine in 2012. 

@Portland, october 13

The Pilots were picked fifth in the 2012 WCC Preseason Poll after, to Portland fans, the 2010 and 2011 seasons seemed to be downers. Pilot fans are used to years and years of successful women's soccer and deep runs into the NCAA tournament. Since Portland hasn't made it back to the Final Four since 2005, fans are seemingly unimpressed. 

Portland finished the 2011 regular season at .500 but big wins in non-conference play and a challenging schedule at least got them into the first round of the postseason, and a win over Oregon State got them into the second round only to be beat by Florida State, a team they had beaten earlier in the year. 

Amanda Frisbie returns as the second-highest leading scorer from 2011 with six goals. The team lost its leading scorer in Danielle Foxhoven.

Gonzaga, october 19

Once one of the worst programs in America, Gonzaga has climbed up into national prominence under head coach Shannon Stiles. The team reached its first, and only, NCAA tournament in 2005 after a third place finish in the league. 

The team was chosen to finish ninth in the WCC Preseason Poll but there's definitely potential for a good season in 2012. They have a senior goalkeeper with a year of experience after transferring and three returning starters. Leading goal scorer Emma Dolcetti returns after scoring seven goals in 2011 and senior Morgan Manchester will return as the program's rock in the middle. 

@San Diego, october 25

San Diego is no longer running with the bottom of the WCC after a 2011 season that saw the program win a share of its first league title, its first major trophy in program history, while also advancing to the Sweet Sixteen. The Toreros haven't had it easy in the shadow of Portland and Santa Clara but wise soccer fans know they've quietly turned into at team that could make life tough for any team. 

Before the 2011 season, San Diego had qualified for four-straight NCAA tournaments and finished as league runners up three times and in third place once. The 2011 seemed to be a storybook one for the Toreros with a great run in the NCAA tournament and now it's only a matter of building on that success. 

This season, however, the program might be doing more rebuilding after heavy losses in five starters and their goalie. Sophomore Meghan O'Rourke is likely the leader of the group after the loss of leader Stephanie Ochs weighs heavy on the team.

Saint Mary's, october 27

The Gaels were picked to finish sixth in this year's WCC Preseason Poll after steady progress in the last 10 years to keep Saint Mary's relevant and at the top of everyone's lists. 

Despite 2011's lack of progress in league play, the team still walked away with its second-straight winning season while winning double-digit games for the first time since 2001 and a satisfied feeling for where the program is heading. 

Second leading scorer Christina Tognetti returns after netting eight goals in 2011, the core of Saint Mary's backline returns and plenty of depth at the goalkeeper position all bode well for the Gaels in 2012. 

@Loyola Marymount, november 1

Unfortunate for Loyola Marymount, the team got nowhere close to the NCAA tournament in 2011, paying the price for an under .500 second half of the season. Before 2011 the Lions were mostly found fighting the middle of the conference but have seemed to dip down in recent years. 

The Lions went 1-1-1 to start league play in 2011 and lost its final five matches to finish the year for the program's first losing season since 2005 and first finish out of the RPI Top 100 in a long while. 

Under new head coach Michelle Myers, the squad looks to build on returning leading scorer Tawni Martino and goalkeeper Brittany Jagger. Martino sparkled her rookie year in 2010 and was the squad's leading scorer with four goals in 2011 but, compared to her freshman year, only four goals appeared as a slump.

@Pepperdine, november 3

The Waves are rolling in women's soccer and a No. 10 NSCAA preseason ranking proves it. Plus, they were picked to finish second in the WCC Preseason Poll. 

The Waves return their top two goal scorers in Anisa Guajardo and Lynn Williams with nine and six goals, respectively. The Waves were a dominant 7-1 in league play last season and were rewarded with their sixth trip to the NCAA tournament. The 2012 season for Pepperdine looks extremely bright.