BYU-Hawaii has been selected to repeat as the Pacific West Conference women's soccer champion and Dixie State senior midfielder Mikala Wilkes (Cedar Hills, Utah/Lone Peak High School) has been chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year as the PacWest prepares to kick off its 2009 women's soccer schedule.
The PacWest Media Relations Office in Phoenix, Ariz., announced the 2009 Preseason All-Conference Women's Soccer Team and predicted order of finish on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The squad and predicted order of finish was determined by a vote of the nine PacWest head women's soccer coaches.
BYU-Hawaii and Dixie State each received four first-place votes, but the Seasiders compiled the most points in the weighted poll. Dixie State finished second, while Hawai'i Hilo, which received one first-place vote, placed third.
Notre Dame de Namur, Grand Canyon and Hawai'i Pacific are predicted to finish fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, while Dominican (CA) and Academy of Art — the two newest programs in the PacWest — are slated for seventh and eighth, respectively. Chaminade rounded out the order of finish.
A two-time All-PacWest First Team selection in 2007 and 2008, Wilkes was named as the Preseason Player of the Year after finishing the 2008 campaign with 31 points on 12 goals and seven assists. She saw action in 19 games and was credited with four game-winning goals. Wilkes was listed on the Preseason All-PacWest Team as one of four midfielders. The squad also consisted of four forwards, three defenders and one goalkeeper.
Junior forward Wendy Stratford (Layton, Utah/Layton High School) was Dixie State's other Preseason All-PacWest representative. In 2008, she saw action in 20 games with 11 starts, accumulating nine goals, two assists and 20 points. She also tallied three game-winners and was an All-PacWest honorable mention.
BYU-Hawaii led all teams with four preseason picks. Junior forward Emily Mearns (San Ramon, Calif.) was an All-PacWest First Team choice in 2008 and 2006. Last year, she scored 25 points on eight goals and nine assists in 18 games. She also punched in five game-winning goals.
Junior midfielder Natasha Aiono (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham High School) recorded 17 points in 18 games for the Seasiders last year. She scored six goals, recorded five assists and posted one game-winner. For her efforts in 2008, Aiono was named the PacWest Player of the Year and to the All-PacWest First Team after receiving honorable mention accolades in 2007.