July 12, 2004
DENVER- Fresno State, which went 7-9-2 overall last season, has been picked to finish fifth in the 2004 WAC preseason poll, as selected by the league's nine head coaches.
Fresno State closed out the 2003 campaign with a 7-9-2 overall record and a 4-4-0 mark in WAC play, good for sixth in the conference. Playing one of the toughest schedules in school history that featured five opponents ranked in the top-25, the Bulldogs also advanced to the WAC Tournament for the ninth consecutive season. Fresno State's 4-4-0 conference ledger signaled the third straight year with a record of .500 or higher in league play.
SMU, which will be gunning for its fourth-straight WAC title, earned eight first-place votes and registered 64 points to top the poll. Hawai'i finished in second place with 55 points and one first-place vote, while Rice took third with 50 points. UTEP tallied 37 points to check in fourth, just ahead of Fresno State in fifth with 35. Boise State was sixth with 28 points, followed by Tulsa (26), San Jose State (18) and Nevada (11).
Fresno State's 2004 squad will be led by Steve Springthorpe, who enters his first season as the Bulldog's head coach after serving the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Florida. Junior forward Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.), a 2003 second-team All-WAC selection, returns to anchor the offense after leading the Bulldogs in goals (9), points (21), shots (43) and shots on goal (27) last season.
After playing the first of two exhibition contests at Bulldog Stadium on Aug. 20, the Bulldogs open the season with road matches at UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton the following week. Fresno State will also face two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago- UNC Greensboro and California- along with regional rivals Sacramento State and Pacific.
The 2004 preseason All-WAC teams will be announced at the end of the month.
2004 WAC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll Rank Team (1st place votes) Points 1 SMU (8) 64 2 Hawai'i (1) 55 3 Rice 50 4 UTEP 37 5 Fresno State 35 6 Boise State 28 7 Tulsa 26 8 San Jose State 18 9 Nevada 11
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