2023 NCAA women's soccer preview
The GIST: Prep your best celly and blast your team’s fight song — after a week of exhibition games, the women’s soccer season officially kicks off tomorrow. One more sleep between you and college sports.
- Need a quick primer on the collegiate pitch? We have you covered. Brush up, then LFG!
The favorites: The Bruins are back, baby! UCLA begins their
Pac-12 farewell tour campaign for a second straight natty as the preseason’s top-ranked team, marking their 49th straight week (!!!) atop the poll. With tons of returning talent, like senior forward Reilyn Turner, who scored the Bruins’ clutch title-game equalizer last year, they’re already looking dangerous.
- Challenging the Bruins for the throne, however, is…well, the entire ACC. The nation’s toughest women’s soccer conference boasts five preseason Top 10 squads, led by natty runners-up No. 2 UNC. East Coast, beast coast.
The dark horses: No. 10 Penn State stunned with an unexpected Big Ten Tournament win and a deep national title run last season, earning them an 11-spot boost from the final 2022 in-season poll. With three elite transfers bolstering their already-aggressive defense, expect the Nittany Lions to roar this season.
- Another squad that exceeded NCAA tourney expectations last year? No. 13 BYU, who’s already projected to stomp their first-ever Big 12 season by winning the whole damn conference. Hey, (despite BYU’s track record) they’re not there to make friends.
What to watch: Season starts are usually snooze-fests — but not on this pitch. Tomorrow’s slate of spicy non-conference showdowns begins with the season’s first top-10 matchup when Penn State hosts UNC at 7 p.m. ET on BTN. And prep that second screen because No. 12 South Carolina faces their intrastate nemesis No. 25 Clemson at the same time on ACCNX.
- Once those games wrap, flip to UCLA’s home match against the Georgia Bulldogs at 10 p.m. ET on the Pac-12 Network. The just-outside-the-ranks ’Dawgs have something to prove, but don’t bet on ’em doing it on the Bruins’ turf.