Colorado Springs, Colorado - San Diego State, for the second straight season, has been picked to win the Mountain West in the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. The Aztecs enter 2014 having won the last two regular-season and tournament championships.
SDSU sits atop the 12-team standings with 115 points and five first-place votes, ahead of conference newcomer Colorado College, which picked up 112 points and five first-place tallies. Boise State, the team the Aztecs beat in the MW final, earned the other two first-place considerations before finishing with 103 points and in third place.
New Mexico (88 points), Utah State (82) and Fresno State (73) rounded out the top half of the poll. UNLV (55), Wyoming (51) and Nevada (37) came in seventh, eighth and ninth place, respectively, while Colorado State and San José State each tied for 10th with 27 points apiece. Air Force earned 22 points, which was good for 12th.
The Aztecs open the campaign as preseason favorites due in large part to 14 returning letterwinners and six returning starters, three of which were 2013 all-MW first-team selections in Hannah Keane, Victoria Barba and Kelsey Booth.
Keane is the league’s leading returner in scoring (28 points) and goals scored (12). Barba, who plays in the midfield, tallied the second-most points on the team with 11 (3 g, 5 a). Booth, meanwhile, added two goals and four assists for eight points, tying her with fellow senior starter Haley Locker for the third-most points a season ago. Goalkeeper Melanie Vaughn is also back after being named to the 2013 all-MW tournament team. As a sophomore in 2013, Vaughn led the conference with 10 shutouts, while making 81 saves and posting a GAA of 1.04. The sixth and final returning starter is junior Ashley Hauke, who started all 22 games in the backfield last season.
San Diego State is in action on Friday when it plays host to Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. PT. The exhibition is set for SDSU Sports Deck and admission is free. The Aztecs’ season opener is Friday, Aug. 22, against Michigan State at 7 p.m. PT atop the Sports Deck.
2014 Mountain West Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. San Diego State (5) 115
2. Colorado College (5) 112
3. Boise State (2) 103
4. New Mexico 88
5. Utah State 82
6. Fresno State 73
7. UNLV 55
8. Wyoming 51
9. Nevada 37
T10. Colorado State 27
T10. San José State 27
12. Air Force 22