Aug. 14, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - New Mexico volleyball was selected to finish sixth among the nine Mountain West conference schools for the 2012 season as announced by the Conference on Tuesday.
Preseason No. 25 and 2011 MW tournament champions Colorado State received eight first-place votes and 80 total points as the favorite to take the 2012 MW regular-season title.
Last season's runner-up, San Diego State, was selected to finish second with 69 points, while Wyoming earned the remaining first-place vote and 66 points for a close third.
Lobo head coach Jeff Nelson is in full agreement with the top-three picks, especially considering the personnel each team has returning.
"Colorado State and Wyoming are senior-dominant teams," he said. "SDSU has a number of players returning which gives all three of the top preseason teams in the conference a wealth of experienced players. I think those were certainly the top three choices and the rest, in terms of preseason, are all close."
Fourth through seventh places were separated by nine total points with newcomer Fresno State leading the way with 45 points, UNLV in fifth with 42, New Mexico in sixth with 40 and Boise State in seventh with 36. Newcomer Nevada was picked eighth with 16 points, followed by Air Force with 11.
Nelson thought the No. 6 prediction for his Lobos was low and says it will serve as motivation.
"I think we're better than that," he said. "It gives us something to work for."
The conference coaches selected CSU's Dana Cranston and Wyoming's Jodi Purdy as 2012 MW Preseason Co-Players of the Year. Cranston is one of four Rams on the seven-member 2012 All-MW Preseason team, joined by three-time all-MW performer Megan Plourde, Brieon Paige and Izzy Gaulia. San Diego State's Andrea Hannasch and Johnna Fouch were also picked as preseason honorees.
UNM will host its annual alumni match at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18 as part of a number of weekend events. Prior to Saturday's match, there will be a 10 a.m. brunch at The Frontier followed by an alumni vs. alumni match at 11:30 a.m. in Johnson. A number of former Lobo greats will be attending the event.
The Lobos begin regular-season play at home Aug. 24-25 with the Sheraton Airport/LA Boxing Lobo Classic. UNM opens Friday, Aug. 24 with matches against Southern University and Duquesne at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively.
2012 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL COACHES' POLL
|Pl.||Team (1st-place votes)||Points|
|1.||Colorado State (8)||80|
|2.||San Diego State||69|
2012 ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM
|**Dana Cranston||Senior||OH||Colorado State|
|Brieon Paige||Senior||MB||Colorado State|
|Megan Plourde||Senior||MB||Colorado State|
|Andrea Hannasch||Senior||MB||San Diego State|
|Setter: Johnna Fouch||Junior||S||San Diego State|
|Libero: Izzy Gaulia||Senior||L||Colorado State|