Aug. 9, 2012
By Kim Melcher
By Kim Melcher
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--- A voting panel of the eight Mountain West head women's soccer coaches chose two-time defending champion New Mexico as the favorite to win the 2012 MW regular-season title. The Lobos collected five first-place votes and 46 total points. San Diego State was a close second with 44 points and two first-place votes, while MW newcomer Fresno State received the remaining first-place vote and was picked third, totaling 35 points. UNLV received 31 points for fourth place in the poll, followed by Wyoming (28 points) in fifth place. Boise State (18 points), Air Force (12 points) and MW newcomer Nevada (10 points) rounded out the preseason rankings in sixth, seventh and eighth place, respectively.
New Mexico returns 14 letter winners and seven starters from a 2011 squad that swept the MW regular-season and tournament crowns en route to a second-straight NCAA appearance. Heading up the list of 2012 returnees for 12th-year head coach Kit Vela is senior goalkeeper Kelli Cornell, the 2010 and 2011 MW Defensive Player of the Year. The Lobos finished the 2011 campaign with a 12-5-4 overall record (4-0-2 in MW play) and earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
San Diego State amassed a 10-7-3 overall record and second-place Conference finish (4-1-1) in 2011. Sixth-year head coach Mike Friesen brings back 10 starters among 20 letterwinners, including 2011 all-MW performers Rachel Boaz (So., GK), Tiffany Hurst (Sr., D/MF), Megan Jurado (Jr., F/MF), Sophie Metz (Jr., MF/D), Haley Palmer (Jr., D) and Kory Spotts (Jr., D/MF).
Fresno State embarks on its inaugural Mountain West campaign under the direction of fourth-year head coach Brian Zwaschka. The Bulldogs, who tallied an 11-5-5 record last season, return 13 letterwinners in 2012, including eight starters. Among the returnees are 2011 all-conference selections Callie Hancock (Sr., F), Lauren Lindstrom (Jr., D) and Vanessa Gonzalez (Sr., MF).
All eight MW teams will be in action when the Mountain West kicks off its 14th season of women's soccer competition on Friday, August 17. The Bulldogs will play at UC Davis to begin the season on August 17.
2012 MW Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. New Mexico (5) 46
2. San Diego State (2) 44
3. Fresno State (1) 35
4. UNLV 31
5. Wyoming 28
6. Boise State 18
7. Air Force 12
8. Nevada 10
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Remember to vote every day for Fresno State at www.ESPN.com/CollegeColorsDay and wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day.
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