Jan. 26, 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the third straight season, the San Diego State Aztecs have been selected to win the Mountain West Conference softball regular season title in a vote by the league coaches released today. SDSU, BYU and Colorado State each received two first place votes.
San Diego State, winners of two out of the last three regular season championships (2002, 2003), collected 22 points to capture the top spot in the poll. 2004 Mountain West Conference regular season champion Colorado State, and BYU tallied 20 points apiece to place second in the poll, followed by 2004 MWC Tournament champion Utah (12 points), New Mexico and UNLV (eight points each).
The Aztecs, coming off a 37-23-0 overall record (14-6-0 MWC) last season and a second place finish in the MWC Championship, return 10 letterwinners this season, including the 2004 Pitcher of the Year Celena Velasquez. The Rams, (40-14-0, 16-4-0 MWC) who captured their first-ever MWC regular season crown, as well as their first 40-win season since 1997 (51 wins) will be led by 2004 Mountain West Freshman of the Year Jessica Strickland, and 2004 all-MWC picks Kerry Farrell (senior, catcher) and Stephanie Roberts (senior, second baseman). 2004 MWC Player of the Year Ianeta Le'i (junior, first baseman) will lead six returning starters (12 letterwinners total) for the BYU Cougars, who are looking for their first regular season title since 2001.
Utah, 23-33 overall (8-12-0 MWC) in 2004, placed fourth in this season's poll after winning it third MWC Tournament title and advancing to the NCAA Regionals last season. The Utes return seven starters this season, including the 2004 MWC Championship MVP Brianna Gourdin (junior, pitcher) and all-MWC selections Lynsey Wall (junior, catcher) and Devina Quintero (sophomore, designated player). UNLV (25-35-0 overall, 7-13-0 MWC) and New Mexico (30-35-0 overall, 3-16-0 MWC) were picked to finish fifth this season after finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, last season. The Rebels return eight letterwinners, including all-MWC performer Pauline Glenn, while the Lobos welcome back seven letterwinners.
The 2005 season starts on Thursday, Feb. 3, with Colorado State facing Cal Poly and Nevada, Reno in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The 2005 conference season opens Friday, Apr. 1 and the 2005 Mountain West Softball Championship will be held at SDSU Softball Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University, May 12-14.
2005 Preseason Softball Coaches' Poll
|Pl.||Team (1st place votes)||Points|
|1.||San Diego State (2)||22|
|Colorado State (2)||20|