The University of Portland men's and women's soccer teams are ranked 12th in the Soccer America magazine preseason polls.

The Pilot men, which finished the 1997 season with a second straight 11-7-1 record and missed the playoffs for the second straight year, are the third-ranked team in the West region.

They will play Rutgers at home Sept. 5 in their first regular season game.

The Pilot women finished the 1997 season 14-5-0 after a 1-0 loss to UCLA in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. The Pilots are the second-ranked team in the West region.

The Portland women open their season Sept. 5 at Gonzaga, followed by a 2:15 p.m. Labor Day matchup with Tennessee.

Led by 1998 Hermann Trophy finalist, senior midfielder Michelle French, the Pilot women return eight starters from last season's team which lost in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.

French and sophomore goalie Angela Harrison were each first team all-West Coast Conference picks a year ago, while sophomore Kylee Barton and Kimberly Stiles, also earned all-conference awards last year. Other returning starters are seniors Kristen Eaton, Jenna Johnson and Tara Koleski, and sophomore Vanessa Talbott. In addition, 1996 starters Regina Holan and Cheryl Loveless return after injury redshirt seasons in 1997.

Senior forward and midfielder Chris Brown, a second-team all-Far West Region and first-team all-West Coast Conference pick in 1997, and 1997 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year Steve Cherundolo leads the Pilot men this year.

The Pilots have seven starters and 16 letterwinners return from last season, including three sophomores - Miguel Luna, Jeff Alexander and Cherundolo - who earned starting posts as freshmen. Senior Brian Casola, and juniors Matthew Smith and Brian Winters round out the list of returning starters.