The 2019 women's college soccer season is officially underway as several ranked teams took to the pitch this past weekend. The preseason top 25 is loaded with talent this year and many players will compete for the Mac Hermann Trophy and lead their teams to deep post-season runs.
Here are seven players in the preseason top 25 who could make a statement this year:
Deyna Castellanos, Forward — Florida State, Senior
Florida State is coming off of one of its most successful seasons in program history. The defending NCAA champions are ranked No. 1 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason top 25 poll.
Castellanos is the backbone of Florida State's offense. She led the Seminoles in goals (10) assists (8) and points (28) in 2018. The Venezuelan senior is once again on the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list, college soccer's highest individual honor.
The goal-scoring forward is already pushing Florida State toward another successful season as they finished this weekend 2-0, knocking off Texas Christian 2-0 and 16th ranked Wisconsin 1-0 in extra time. Castellanos scored one of the three goals, lighting up the back of the net from outside the 18 versus TCU.
Grace Fisk, Defender — South Carolina, Senior
South Carolina starts its season 15th in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll. Leading from the back is their captain, Grace Fisk. Fisk and the rest of the Gamecocks' stout defense went on an incredible run last season where they didn't allow a goal for 28 straight days. The Englishwoman aided six-straight clean sheets over that span of about a month and is just the fourth Gamecock to be named an All-American twice. She is also on the Mac Hermann Trophy watch list for this season and helped lead her squad to their first shutout of the season, knocking off the College of William & Mary 3-0 this past weekend. South Carolina also beat #21 NC State 2-1 in their season opener.
Jessie Fleming, Midfielder — UCLA, Senior
UCLA's Jessie Fleming proved herself to be the midfield anchor during the first two games of the season. The senior assisted one goal during the 3-0 route versus the Cyclones and recorded three shots during the 1-0 victory over Long Beach State.
The UCLA senior went into her junior year coming off of a season that earned her a Mac Hermann Trophy Finalist position and a first-team All-American selection. She was with the Canadian National Team during World Cup qualifying and helped UCLA reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women's College Cup, scoring three goals throughout the tournament. She also displayed her clutch gene last season, netting three game-winners.
Rylee Foster, Goalkeeper — West Virginia, Senior
The Mountaineers knocked off Duquesne 3-0 but lost to 3rd ranked Stanford 3-1 to begin its 2019 campaign. Ranked 11th in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll, West Virginia is the highest-ranked Big 12 school in the top 25. Rylee Foster is one of four goalkeepers listed on the Mac Hermann Trophy watch list. The Canadian was also a CONCACAF goalkeeper-of-the-year finalist last year and ranked sixth in the NCAA in shutouts with 11.
Emily Fox, Defender — North Carolina, Junior
Emily Fox is not on the Mac Herman Trophy watchlist so she can be seen as a bit of a sleeper in this listing. That's easy to say when Fox is on the same team with the likes of other North Carolina greats and expected breakouts like Taylor Otto, Brianna Pinto and Alessia Russo.
Fox, who has loads of international experience, is one of North Carolina's fastest players and best defenders. An All-ACC preseason selection, expect Fox to be North Carolina's Swiss army knife this year. Her speed will allow her to be a defensive force as well as an offensive weapon. North Carolina has started its season 2-0 after knocking off Indiana 3-0 and 8th ranked Duke 2-0.
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Julia Grosso, Midfielder — Texas, Sophomore
That's our reigning Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year wasting NO time getting 2019 rolling! pic.twitter.com/cFXqvLJjRH— Texas Soccer (@TexasSoccer) August 23, 2019
There aren't many players who have had a hotter start to the season than Julia Grosso. The sophomore midfielder scored two goals and notched one assist for the Longhorns in their 4-3 victory of Gonzaga.
Although the Canadian only played about half the season for the Longhorns last year due to an international call up, Grosso still managed to be named Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year and listed on the All-Big 12 second-team.
Catarina Macario, Forward — Stanford, Junior
This list wouldn't be complete without the defending Mac Hermann Trophy winner. On top of leading Stanford in goals with 14 and points with 36 last season, Macario was also named ESPNW's 2018 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Forward of the Year and TopDrawerSoccer's Player of the Year. The Brazilian forward decimated Pac-12 defenses last year as she led in goals per game, points per game and game-winning goals.
Macario is already off to a quick start this season as she recorded two goals and the Cardinal are 2-0 heading into the first full week of play.