As expected, sophomore Taylor Kornieck already is drawing attention for the Colorado women's soccer team.
What perhaps is a little surprising is how the Buffaloes were ranked in the Pac-12 Conference preseason coaches' poll. Despite finishing in a tie for second last season while reaching the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons, the preseason poll released Tuesday has the Buffs tabbed at No. 6. Defending regular season champ Stanford took the top spot with 10 of 12 first-place votes followed UCLA and by the team CU tied for second last year, USC. Cal and Utah rounded out the top five.
The Buffs finished seven points behind the fifth-place Utes.
CU returns its entire defense as well as Kornieck, a midfielder who on Tuesday was named as one of 30 women's players on the preseason watch list for the Hermann Award, given to the top Division I player in the nation. Kornieck was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last year after posting 11 goals and four assists in 22 games. Kornieck's 26 points was the second-best total by a freshman in the history of the CU program, trailing only the 37 recorded by Nikki Marshall in 2006.
Kornieck is one of seven Pac-12 players on the Hermann Award watch list and also is one of only six sophomores on the list. CU opens its season Aug. 18 at Colorado State.