Updated WCC Women’s Soccer National Rankings


The big news out of women’s soccer this past week was that the race for the WCC Championship is over with BYU clinching the title. Now it’s up to the other teams of the WCC to jockey for position to build a resume for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Let’s see how they’re faring in the national rankings as of November 4th.

BYU, #15, NO CHANGE: Staying in the same spot seems about right for the Cougars. While they can celebrate a WCC Championship, they had a pretty average week. They failed in their first chance to clinch by drawing with a weak Saint Mary’s team before dominating a just as weak Pacific squad to claim the title. Hard to move them up when they can’t beat a weak team, but hard to move them down when they dominate a team to clinch a conference title. So staying put makes sense.

The draw was a minor hiccup as the Cougars are still rolling along. They should go into the NCAA Tournament looking very strong on the strength of their high-powered offense and stout defense. Ashley Hatch had two goals in the clinching win over Pacific, and she leads the WCC in goals and points. She is cruising to WCC Player of the Year honors, and she is in the top ten nationally in both categories putting her in the discussion for All-American honors. The Cougars lead the WCC in all major offensive categories and have been shut out just twice this season.

Their defense has also been solid, and solid is all they have needed with the powerful offense backing them up. Despite losing 2013 WCC Goalkeeper of the Year Erica Owens to graduation, the Cougars are limiting shots on goal and have posted ten shutouts so far including in five of their seven WCC matches.

The Cougars are red hot, a complete team, and should be very dangerous in the NCAA Tournament. They can focus on getting rested and tuning up for the tournament in their regular season finale against Pepperdine, a nice advantage after it looked like that would be a big match for most of the season.

PEPPERDINE, #12, NO CHANGE:  The Cougars clinching the WCC put the final exclamation on the disappointing collapse of Pepperdine in conference play. After their red hot start that put them in the top ten after their non-conference schedule, the Waves just couldn’t keep up with BYU. For much of the season their finale against the Cougars looked like it would decide the conference, now it’s nothing more than a postseason tuneup for two teams already headed to the NCAA Tournament.

The Waves are still #12 in the country because despite their dip in the WCC standings, they haven’t had a bad season at all. They have lost just once in WCC play, but they suffered too many draws against inferior teams as their offense failed them. Their elite defense continued to play strong, but they just couldn’t find the goals to put them over the top in close games. While the Cougars kept winning, the Waves just slowly kept falling further behind.

Still, you have to give credit where credit is due. The Waves have been nearly impossible to beat. Only #1 UCLA and a very good San Diego team have managed to knock them off, and it’s why the Waves will still easily cruise into the NCAA Tournament. Falling off for the WCC Championship after such high hopes halfway through the season will be tough, but they should be happy knowing they have their shot at redemption locked up with a postseason trip.

Even if they are destroyed in their finale by BYU, they will easily get an at-large bid for the tournament. From there anything can happen. They won’t have to settle for ties there, and their defense could take them far. Teams might be sleeping on them, and they could make a run.

SANTA CLARA, #29, RECEIVING VOTES: The whole season in the WCC has been about BYU and Pepperdine, but the Broncos have quietly been having a good season. The only teams in the conference who have been able to beat them are the Cougars and Waves, and the Broncos could finish in the top three depending on the results of the final games.

Led by Sophie Huerta who would be the top contender for WCC Player of the Year if it weren’t for Ashley Hatch, the Broncos continue to pick up top 25 votes. If they can take care of business in their fairly easy finale against Saint Mary’s, they will finish WCC play having won every match except two the two ranked teams. They will finished second if they win their final match. It’s not a must-win, but it would look very good on their resume to finish second and ahead of the Waves.

They should be in the NCAA Tournament. With an RPI of #46 in the nation, they’re actually right behind BYU at #45. Even losing to Saint Mary’s probably isn’t enough to knock them out of the field. The Broncos did a fine job of staying in contention despite the tough competition. They absolutely earned a tournament berth.

SAN DIEGO IN THE MIX: The Toreros have had a good season, and they are quietly boasting the #51 RPI in the country not far behind BYU and Santa Clara. If they beat Loyola Marymount in their finale, they would finished with ten wins and might have done just enough to make the NCAA Tournament. But things could have been a lot better had a few shots here and there gone their way.

The Toreros are so high in the RPI because of their brutally tough non-conference schedule. They played a ton of ranked opponents and had very good success picking up four wins and a draw against ranked teams. That included their upset of Pepperdine, and huge resume builder as they are the only team besides #1 UCLA to beat the Waves this season.

They could have been ranked and in the mix for the WCC Championship if they hadn’t dropped games in the meantime. Their losses to Santa Clara and BYU canceled out the Pepperdine upset, and an additional WCC loss to Gonzaga sealed their fate. So now even with a final win, they’re gonna have to sweat it out a bit on the fringes of an at-large bid. LMU has a very low RPI, meaning even with a win San Diego’s RPI is gonna dip a bit.

Are they in? I think they have to be. They are going to be right on the cut line, but the committee will have to look at their winning record against ranked teams and see how good the Toreros are. It should be enough to push them in over other borderline teams, so credit to the coaching staff for putting together an impressive schedule that produced an NCAA Tournament quality team. And don’t forget with all that big game experience, the Toreros won’t be intimidated by a big postseason game. They are worth watching.