Aug 15, 2013
Albuquerque, N.M. --- The Mountain West Conference got a whole lot bigger for women's soccer in 2013 with the addition of three new teams, but the Lobos are predicted to be right near the top of the heap. In a vote of the league's 11 coaches, UNM was selected to finish second in the preseason poll, behind No. 11 San Diego State.
The Lobos picked up one first place vote and 86 points overall, finishing 13 points behind the Aztecs and nine ahead of UNLV and Utah State, who tied for third with 77 points. Last season the Lobos finished second and lost in the Mountain West championship game to the Aztecs. The Lobos have finished first in 2010 and 2011, and won the Mountain West Tournament in 2011. The team hosts the 2013 Mountain West Tournament, which has been expanded to eight teams this season.
New Mexico, under 13th year head coach Kit Vela, returns five starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's 11-7-2 squad. That team was the fourth straight Lobo squad to pick up double-digit wins, a school record streak. The Lobos have advanced to the Mountain West championship game in each of the last three seasons. This season is the 20th anniversary of the women's team at New Mexico.
"After losing two big classes the last two years, we are flattered," said Vela. "I think we are a very good team and it's a very good conference. (San Diego State) is good but I think we are all good in this conference. I'm please that they respect us and I think we will have a very good showing this year."
San Diego State picked up nine first place votes out of 11. The Aztecs return 16 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's 21-2-1 team. The Lobos and the Aztecs do not play until the final day of the regular season on November 1 at the Lobo Soccer Complex, which is the site of the 2013 Mountain West Tournament.
New Mexico will get a chance to see how preseason training has gone so far as the team will hold its Cherry-Silver Scrimmage at 6 p.m. at the Lobo Soccer Complex, and admission is free. The team, which is 35 strong this season, will split into two teams for the exhibition match. The game is the only pre-season match for the squad, which opens its 20-match schedule next Friday at home against Texas Tech at 6 p.m.
The Lobos, who played just five home matches all of last year, will play 10, including hosting the Jack In The Box Classic in September, along with major conference opponents in Texas Tech and Michigan State. The Mountain West jumped from eight teams to 11 as Colorado State added women's soccer and San José State and Utah State joined the conference.
2013 MW WOMEN'S SOCCER PRESEASON POLL
Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
- 1. San Diego State (9) 99
- 2. New Mexico (1) 86
- 3. UNLV (1) 77
Utah State 77
- 5. Boise State 61
- 6. Fresno State 52
- 7. Wyoming 45
- 8. Nevada 43
- 9. San José State 31
- 10. Air Force 20
- 11. Colorado State 12