Aug. 1, 2007
The University of New Mexico volleyball team is picked to finish 5th in the Mountain West Conference in 2007. That's the highest preseason ranking for the Lobos since the MWC was formed in 1999. The previous high was 6th in 1999, 2000 and 2001.
UNM opens its season Aug. 18 with the annual alumni match at Johnson Gym at 7. The regular season begins Aug. 24 when the Lobos host the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic.
A voting panel including the nine Mountain West Conference head coaches and selected media chose BYU as the favorite to win the regular season title. The Cougars collected eight first-place votes and 119 total points. Colorado State tallied five first-place votes and 113 points to claim second-place in the poll, while Utah topped UNLV for third place totaling 108 points. The Rebels collected one first-place vote on the way to 88 points and fourth place in the poll. New Mexico (54 points) and San Diego State (51 points) claimed fifth and sixth place, respectively, followed by Wyoming (seventh, 50 points), TCU (eighth, 43 points) and Air Force (ninth, 14 points).
BYU senior outside hitter Chelsea Goodman highlighted the preseason all-Mountain West Conference team as she was tabbed the preseason MWC Player of the Year. Five MWC teams were represented on the 2007 preseason all-MWC team, which also was chosen by the coaches and selected media.
The 2007 season will see 10 all-Mountain West Conference players return. All-conference performers Whitney Webb (Sr., OH/MB) and Lori Baird (Jr., MB) return for regular-season champion Utah. Webb was named Third-Team AVCA All-America in 2006, while Baird finished in the top-five in the MWC in hitting percentage and blocks (.333% and 1.34 bpg, respectively). Chelsea Goodman (Sr., OH), Rachel Dyer (Jr., MB) and Erica Lott (Sr., OH) are back for BYU. Goodman led the MWC in kills per game (4.49 kpg) and points per game (5.17 ppg) in 2006, while Dyer was third in hitting percentage (.350%) and fifth in blocks per game (1.29 bpg). Lott was third in the conference rankings in points per game (4.54 ppg), fifth in kills per game (3.77 kpg) and 10th in blocks per game (1.07 bpg). Mekana Barnes (Jr., MB) and Tonya Mokelki (Sr., RS) are back to lead 2006 MWC Tournament champion Colorado State. In the conference rankings, Barnes finished in the top-10 in hitting efficiency (eighth, .286%), service aces (ninth, 0.32 sapg) and points per game (eighth, 4.05 ppg). Maria Aladjova (Sr., OH), Lauren Miramontes (Sr., MB) and Jada Walker (Sr., L) will lead the Rebels this season. Aladjova ranked third in kills for overall matches (3.83 kpg) in 2006, while Miramontes ranked seventh in blocks (1.20 bpg) and Walker was second in digs per game (5.12).
The 2007 season is set to start on Friday, Aug. 24, with all nine conference teams in action. Conference play begins on Tuesday, Sept. 11, with Air Force hosting Wyoming. The 2007 MWC Volleyball Championship takes place Nov. 21-24 at UNLV.
2007 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES' POLL
Pl. Team (1st place votes), Points
1. BYU (8), 119
2. Colorado State (5), 113
3. Utah, 108
4. UNLV (1), 88
5. New Mexico, 54
6. San Diego State, 51
7. Wyoming, 50
8. TCU, 43
9. Air Force, 14