WSOC preview: Thunderbirds tabbed as conference favourites

WSOC preview: Thunderbirds tabbed as conference favourites

Canada West Communications

Highlights:

  • The back-to-back CW champion UBC Thunderbirds top the annual CW coaches pre-season poll, receiving all but one first-place vote available to them
  • Women's soccer hits full stride this weekend with 16 games, after a single game a week ago
  • The CW Final Four returns to women's soccer this season after two years of a six-team format
  • U SPORTS nationals are slated for Nov. 9-12 at the University of Manitoba

EDMONTON – The defending Canada West women's soccer champion UBC Thunderbirds are the resounding favourites to repeat in 2017, as the conference schedule hits full gear this weekend.

UBC, who downed the Trinity Western Spartans 3-0 for CW gold a season ago, received 14 of a possible 15 first-place votes in the annual CW women's soccer pre-season coaches poll. 

The Thunderbirds, who opened the 2017 CW regular season last Saturday with a 1-0 defeat to the Victoria Vikes in the only conference game Week 1, return to the turf this weekend with a pair of games, including Friday against the Spartans in an early season showdown of conference favourites.

TWU finished second in the annual coaches poll and received the only other first-place vote, finishing with 203 points – still 20 points back of the front running T-Birds. 

COMPLETE WSOC SCHEDULE

Also expected to challenge this season are the Calgary Dinos (193 points), Alberta Pandas (167 points), and the Vikes (161 points), who round out the top five in the poll.

All five teams will be vying for a trip to the Canada West Final Four, which returns as the conference championship format after two seasons with a six-team field. 

MORE ABOUT THE WSOC PLAYOFF FORMAT

All 16 CW women's teams enter the 2017 season in search of a trip to Winnipeg, Man., as the Manitoba Bisons are slated to host the U SPORTS national tournament Nov. 9-12 in the Manitoba capital. 

The Herd stampede into the 2017 campaign with the CW odds stacked against them, as the conference's coaches tabbed the U SPORTS hosts as the ninth best team to start the season.

For a complete look at all 16 CW women's soccer teams, click here for a look at the Pacific Division teams, and here for the Prairie Division.

2017 CW women's soccer pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)

  1. UBC / 223 (14)
  2. TWU / 203 (1)
  3. Calgary / 193
  4. Alberta / 167
  5. Victoria / 161
  6. Saskatchewan / 160
  7. Fraser Valley / 155
  8. MacEwan / 142
  9. *Manitoba / 93
  10.  Regina / 93
  11.  UBCO / 86
  12. Mount Royal / 76
  13.  Lethbridge / 50
  14. UNBC / 44
  15. Winnipeg / 43
  16. Thompson Rivers / 31 

NOTES: First-place vote worth 15 pts., second-place worth 12 pts. etc. / *Awarded higher position based on greater number of higher placed votes.