July 14, 2003
DENVER- Fresno State, which went 8-13-0 overall last season, has been picked to finish third in the 2003 WAC preseason poll selected by the league's nine head coaches.
The Bulldogs tallied 49 points in the poll, trailing top-ranked SMU and Hawai'i.
Defending champion SMU earned seven first-place votes and registered 63 points to top the poll. Hawai'i finished in second place with 50 points and one first-place vote, just ahead of Fresno State. UTEP received 45 votes for fourth place, while Tulsa was picked fifth despite earning one first-place vote and 35 points.
Rice was sixth with 34 points, followed by Boise State (19), San Jose State (18) and Nevada (10).
Fresno State completed the 2002 campaign at 8-13-0 overall and 5-3-0 in the WAC. The Bulldogs started the season 2-11 after facing one of the nation's toughest schedules but closed out the year strong by winning six of their final eight matches.
The 'Dogs took eventual champion SMU to double overtime during the WAC Tournament semifinals before falling 2-1 and missing the chance at their first WAC title since 1999.
The future looks bright for the Bulldogs, who return eight starters from last year's lineup. Included is the sophomore duo of Kortney Lewis (Visalia, Calif.) and Katri Nokso-Koivisto (Kokkola, Finland). Lewis led the club with 10 goals scored, seven assists and 27 points. Nokso-Koivisto gave the 'Dogs another scoring threat, finishing second behind Lewis in goals scored (9), assists (5), points (23) and shots (43).
Senior Erin Sayegusa (Honolulu, Hawaii) also returns and is one of the team's best clutch performers with three game-winning goals. Sayegusa played in all 21 games and notched five goals and 11 points. Sophomore Koleen Anderson (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) posted three goals last year and eight points in 21 games played.
Fresno State opens the regular season with road matches at UNC Charlotte on Fri., Aug. 29 and Tennessee on Sun., Aug. 30. Two exhibition matches are slated at Bulldog Stadium: Aug. 18 against the Seagulls and Aug. 23 against the Sacramento Storm.
Rank Team (1st place votes) Points 1 SMU (7) 63 2 Hawai'i (1) 50 3 Fresno State 49 4 UTEP 45 5 Tulsa (1) 35 6 Rice 34 7 Boise State 19 8 San Jose State 8 9 Nevada 10
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