LAIE, Hawaii – BYU-Hawaii women's soccer team looks to improve on a third place PacWest finish last season, despite being selected to finish fourth by coaches during preseason meetings.
"The goal with any team I coach is to keep clean sheets just about every game we play," BYU-Hawaii head coach Mark Davis said. "I have that much confidence in our midfield tracking back and our back four to meet that goal. Our expectation is to win the conference and go to the NCAA tournament. We want the girls to have that same expectation as well."
The Seasiders will boast one of the youngest teams in the conference with eight returning starters and 15 incoming freshmen.
"We're super excited about our defense," Davis said. "Throughout our back four we have two solid players returning in Sarah Bodily and Kaylie Adamson, along with several freshmen who we're really high on like Jana Wall and Caitlin Wadley. I feel like we have solid back four and have eight to nine girls we feel confident playing back there in any game."
"We think the world of Brittany," Davis said. "She can really hold the midfield and distribute well throughout the back. She's really smart and plays simple. We think she can be a big time player for us this year. Incoming freshman Tess Hobbs brings pace to our attack. She's super smart and has a nose for the goal."
Junior McKenzie Evans and sophomore Emily Marie Barfus return up top for BYU-Hawaii this season. Evans earned third team all-PacWest honors last season with seven total points in 2013. They will lead a very talented forward group this season.
"Forward is probably the deepest position on our team," Davis said. "We have six girls that can all put the ball in the back of the net on any given day. We need one of them to step up and be the girl. McKenzie is a captain and we think she will have a huge year after earning PacWest honors last year. Emily is another returner that plays smart and can put the ball in the back of the net in the clutch.
"Ansley Warner is an incoming freshman from Arizona and we think the world of her. I believe she will do some incredible things for us this season. One other player we're excited about is Kate Orchard. She will be one of the fastest girls in the conference as a freshman. If we can boost her confidence she will be an all-conference performer this year."
The Seasiders will open up regular season action with a game against Florida Tech at 3 p.m. HST on the soccer field at BYU-Hawaii.