The Utah Valley University women's soccer team was selected to finish fourth in the 2019 Western Athletic Conference Preseason Poll and UVU players Breanna DeWaal and Hannah Bruce were named to the Preseason All-WAC team.

"The team is fit and ready to go this upcoming fall," said Utah Valley head coach Chris Lemay. "We have a balanced but challenging pre-WAC lineup that will have us prepared for conference play. We hope to prove the preseason prediction wrong. Out goal is a WAC regular season title and we feel like we have the talent to achieve that."

Utah Valley returns 14 players from last year's squad, including six starters that helped the Wolverines to a third-straight appearance in the WAC Tournament semifinals. UVU welcomes 12 newcomers including nine freshmen and three transfers.

UVU was projected to finish fourth after receiving one first place vote for a total of 46 points. The Wolverines finished just two points behind UT Rio Grande Valley, which received 48 points. Seattle U was selected to win the conference as the team received six of the first place votes for 61 total points. Kansas City tallied two first place votes and received 52 points to claim the second spot. Grand Canyon (34) was picked fifth, followed by CSU Bakersfield (31) in sixth, and New Mexico State (22) and California Baptist (22) tied for seventh. Chicago State received eight points to finish ninth.

DeWaal returns to the team after sitting out the 2018 season while serving an LDS Church mission in Romania. The junior forward led Utah Valley to a WAC Tournament title and the team's second trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2017. She was named the WAC Tournament MVP and led the team with nine goals, six assists, and 24 points in 2017. She also earned All-WAC first team honors and was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Team.

Bruce started and played all 21 matches for the Wolverines last season. She helped anchor the UVU back line to four shutouts during WAC play. She also had one assist and five shots in 2018. Bruce led the team in minutes with 1,852 and earned second team All-WAC honors last season.

"It is certainly nice that Hannah and Bre have been recognized," said Lemay. "They are both special players. We have a number of others that could have been on that list and can be at the end of the season when it counts. It will take our entire team buying in and performing at their best for us to collectively achieve. No individuals can do it alone."

Kansas City's Rylan Childers was named the WAC's preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while teammate Abby Small earned Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors.

The 2019 season is officially scheduled to get underway for the Wolverines on Thursday, Aug. 22 at Michigan State. Kickoff for the match is set for 5 p.m. (MT). UVU will open its home slate on Aug. 30 against Cal Poly.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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