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Pac-12 Conference

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1 player to know on every Pac-12 women's soccer team in 2023

Jul 17, 2023
Photo of Elise Evans by Lyndsay Radnedge/

With the 2023 women's college soccer season a month away, is highlighting one student-athlete to know on all 12 Pac-12 teams, including the defending national champion UCLA Bruins.

Arizona — Hope Hisey, GK

The Tucson native is back for a fifth season and has a chance to establish herself as the top goalkeeper in program history. Hisey's 289 career saves are fourth-most in Wildcat lore and 62 shy of the all-time record held by Jen Weibel.

For reference, Hisey stopped 61 shots last year when she played every minute of every match for an upstart Wildcat team that tied for the fifth in the Pac-12 after finishing last the year before.

Arizona State — Lucy Johnson, D

The Sun Devils graduated their top three scorers from last season, but Johnson, their leading assister, returns. Johnson is a stout 1-v-1 defender who also aids in the attack. Her lone goal last season was a memorable one — a game-winner that gave the Sun Devils their first victory over Arizona since 2015.

An England native, Johnson is another example of the international talent the Sun Devils have thrived with under head coach Graham Winkworth.

California — Karlie Lema, F

The junior is Cal's leading returning scorer after netting five goals, including two game-winners, last season. That was after Lema led the Bears with six goals and 12 points in 2021 when she made the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team.

Colorado — Shyra James, F

James' 11 goals last season were tied for the third-most in the Pac-12. She opened the season on a hot streak, scoring in the Buffaloes' first six games to set a school record for consecutive games with a goal at 10. (She scored in four straight games to end the 2022 campaign).

Now a senior, James is hoping to lead Colorado back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since her freshman season in 2020.

Oregon — Ajanae Respass, F

The Colorado native made the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team last season after leading the Ducks in goals (4) and points (10) despite missing some games to injury. Her biggest tally was the game-winner against then-No. 15 Washington on Sept. 24. 

"Nae did such a great job leading our front line this year," head coach Graeme Abel said after the season. "She played with a number of different teammates up top but was constantly able to be a threat in our games. What she took this year will give her great experience for the future and will allow her to continue to evolve within our program."

Oregon State — McKenna Martinez, F

Martinez led Oregon State in scoring for the second straight year, netting 10 goals in 2022. With 22 goals in two seasons, Martinez has a chance to become the Beavers' all-time leading scorer if she continues at this torrid pace. The program record is 47 goals held by Jodie Taylor.

Stanford — Elise Evans, D

Evans was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and TopDrawerSoccer National Freshman of the Year after anchoring a Cardinal backline that posted the sixth-best goals-against average in the country. Evans came through in the clutch multiple times as all three of her tallies were game-winners. One of them handed No. 1 UCLA its first loss of the season.

Evans is carrying on a family tradition on The Farm as her father Marlon (football and track & field) and mother Dena (soccer and track & field) were both student-athletes at Stanford. Her great grandfather Ben Dey is in the Stanford Hall of Fame and won the 1936 NCAA doubles title in tennis.

UCLA — Reilyn Turner, F

One of two leading scorers on the Bruins' national championship team, Turner's 11 goals last season were tied for the third-most in the Pac-12. She was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player at the College Cup after scoring the game-winner against Alabama and the game-tying goal with 16 seconds remaining in the national championship game against North Carolina.

USC — Simone Jackson, F

The athletic midfielder is USC's leading returning scorer after netting six goals last season, earning a spot on the Pac-12 All-First Team. Jackson's numbers could have been even better had she not missed the first two games of the season to compete at the U20 World Cup with the U.S. Youth National Team.

Like Evans, Jackson has a long family history at her school. Her brother John Jackson III played wide receiver on the USC football team just like their father John Jr., who is the Trojans' all-time leader in receptions and also played baseball at USC. Their grandfather John Sr. was an offensive assistant coach for the Trojan football team, helping USC win a national championship in 1978.

“My family is my why,” Simone told the Daily Trojan.

Utah — Taliana Kaufusi, F

Kaufusi has steadily improved with the Utes, raising her scoring total each season. In 2022, she led the team in goals (6), total points (12), shots (41) and shots on goal (17). Kaufusi was one of just two Utes to start all 19 matches.

Washington — Kelsey Branson, MF

Stacked with seniors last season, the Huskies will be one of the younger teams in the Pac-12 this year. Branson is one of the underclassmen to watch for after she tied for second on the team in scoring last year with five goals. She scored the game-winner in the Apple Cup win at Washington State, the Huskies' first win in Pullman since 1996. Branson gave herself an A for her freshman season performance. 

"Right now, I’m just excited about the future," she told the Del Mar Times. "We’re going to be such a young team and have about a dozen freshmen coming in. Everyone will be hungry and motivated to prove what we can do."

Washington State — Margie Detrizio, F

The senior led WSU in scoring (11 goals) and assists (6), racking up the most points (28) by a Cougar since 2019. Altogether, Detrizio was tied for the third in the Pac-12 in scoring and earned all-conference second-team honors.