Colorado’s soccer team was picked fifth in the Pac-12 preseason coaches poll on Tuesday. The Buffs received 74 points and came in behind first-place Stanford (121 points), UCLA (109), Southern California (98) and California (90).
CU is coming off its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the past five years after going 12-6-4 and finishing sixth in the Pac-12 in 2017.
The team returns nine of its 11 starters from last season, including the top four goal scorers, along with all-region and All-Pac-12 goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins. Marty Puketapu scored a team-high eight goals and added two assists as a freshman in 2017. Junior Taylor Kornieck has already been named All-Pac-12 twice in her career, and scored seven goals with four assists as a sophomore. Tatum Barton had six goals coming off the bench as a sophomore and midfielder Megan Massey added four, along with six assists during her junior campaign a year ago.
Head coach Danny Sanchez returns for his seventh season with CU and has a 70-44-15 (.601) record, leading the Buffs past the first round of the NCAA Tournament four times already. Over the past two seasons, CU has gone 13-6-3 (.659) in Pac-12 matches under Sanchez.
Eight of CU’s opponents this season made the NCAA Tournament last season, including five that visit Boulder this season (Utah Valley, Denver, Washington State, Southern California and UCLA). Last season’s national championship game featured Stanford edging UCLA 3-2.