#33 UC Irvine Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

UC Irvine Anteaters

Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #2 Big West
UC Irvine Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
UC Irvine Team Page


Coach Scott Juniper led UC Irvine to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. The Anteaters were back in 2011. In 2012 they will look to make it three in a row and cement their status as a consistent contender in the Big West. During the 2011 tournament the Anteaters lost in their opener in a thrilling shootout to San Diego, but this is a team that has the talent and experience to win a couple games in November.

2011 Record: 14-4-3, 6-1-1
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Scott Juniper

Even without the services of Lexi Kopf, who scored 11 goals during the 2011 campaign, UC Irvine should have little trouble finding the back of the net. Natalia Ledezma led the squad with 32 points last season, netting 12 goals and setting up eight others. The versatile 5-2 junior is dangerous in so many ways and how well she teams up with new goal scorers will be important. One of those new goal scorers will be senior Rachel Wood. Wood, who played three seasons at North Carolina and helped the team win a title in 2008, will be the new finisher up front. Wood played primarily in the back at UNC, but she is no stranger to playing up front and that is where Coach Juniper will use her. With other scorers like Cami Privett and setup midfielders like Dana Sanderlin, the offense is loaded with potential this year.

The defense may take a step back with the absence of Kopf, CoCo Goodson, Amanda Hardeman and Sarah Devine. The Anteaters will look for more leadership from juniors Zoya Farzaneh and Zuri Walker this season. A handful of underclassmen, including a host of freshmen, will need to be ready to at least provide some depth in the back. The good news is that keeper Jennifer Randazzo is back after a fine freshman campaign. The 5-4 San Jose, California native allowed less than one goal per game and recorded six shutouts. She was the starter from game one and did a fine job considering her inexperience at this level at the time. While that year of experience is invaluable, Randazzo will likely be tested much more often this season.

Final Projection:
There could be a lot more goals being scored in Irvine this season compared to 2011. As long as the Anteaters are on the good end more often than not, they will be heading for another trip to the NCAA Tournament and competing for a Big West title. This is a team that may need a little time to retool the lineup, but UC Irvine is not going anywhere and the rest of the Big West will be ready to face a very talented squad when UC Irvine comes to town.

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Natalia Ledezma, Junior, F, 12
Assists: Natalia Ledezma, Junior, F, 8
Shots: Natalia Ledezma, Junior, F, 78
Saves: Jennifer Randazzo, Sophomore, GK, 71