NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
In the annual preseason poll of the Big West Conference coaches, the Cal State Northridge women's soccer program was picked for a fifth-place finish in the upcoming 2013 season. The 2012 Big West Tournament Champions, the Matadors also placed senior Chloe McDaniel and sophomore Taylor Hobson on the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team.
CSUN returns five starters and 18 letterwinners from a 2012 squad that went 11-5-6 overall and 6-1-2 in the Big West Conference. The Matadors qualified for their fourth-straight Big West Tournament and captured the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by downing Cal State Fullerton 1-0 in overtime in the Big West Championship.
That premise set up the Matadors to receive a total of 54 points in the poll. The Titans were the preseason favorite, getting five first-place votes to go along with 72 points. Long Beach State and UC Irvine each received a first-place vote and received 62 points. Cal Poly got two first-place votes and was fourth at 59 points.
McDaniel and Hobson were among 11 conference student-athletes selected to the Preseason All-Conference Team. In 2012, McDaniel was the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year and earned All-Big West First Team and NSCAA All-West Region Third Team honors.
A center back from Palmdale, Calif., McDaniel was also a Big West Scholar-Athlete and will be serving as a team captain this year for the third-straight season. For her career, McDaniel has three goals, two assists and eight points.
Hobson had a dynamic freshman campaign for the Matadors in 2012. The center midfielder from Woodland Hills, Calif., appeared in all 22 matches in her rookie season and finished with two goals. Both of Hobson's goals came at the expense of league rivals and propelled the Matadors to shutout victories at UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.
Entering his eighth season, CSUN head coach Keith West was not surprised by the predictions espoused in the poll.
"While it is interesting to see how we are perceived, I fully expect us to exceed these expectations," West said. "There is a lot of soccer to be played and that, not the guesswork of a poll, will determine how we finish in this league."
The Matadors officially open the 2013 season next week with a pair of road matches at Pac-12 opponents. On Friday, Aug. 23, CSUN heads to Tempe, Ariz., to face Arizona State at 7 p.m. Two days later, the Matadors will square off with No. 5 UCLA on the Pac-12 Network. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.