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Aggie women’s soccer picked 8th in WAC poll
LAS CRUCES — Despite winning a program-record 10 matches in one season ago, the New Mexico State University Aggies women’s soccer team was picked eighth in the WAC Preseason poll, which is voted on by the league’s nine head coaches.
“The preseason poll is tough to gauge because you are trying to figure out who lost what players, who is getting in what players and who still has good players from last year,” Aggie head coach Blair Quinn said. “We have four new teams in the conference, which really screws things up a little bit in terms of voting. I don’t get too wound up about it. I think we were picked last in 2011, and we showed better than that. I anticipate the same thing will happen. No one wants to be eighth or ninth, but the bottom line is you have to finish the regular season in the top six to get into the tournament.”
Denver was selected as the favorite to win the WAC title.
The 2012 Preseason All-WAC team and preseason players of the year were also announced, with Denver receiving six first-place votes and 62 total points. The Pioneers return nine of their 11 starters from a team that went 16-5-0 in 2011.
Last year’s WAC tournament champion Utah State was voted to finish second, receiving three first-place votes with a tally of 59 total points. Seattle was picked third with 47 points.
Also in the poll, San Jose State was fourth (38 points), Idaho was fifth (32 points), followed by Texas State and UTSA (27 points each). The Aggies (19 points) and Louisiana Tech (13 points) were voted in the eighth and ninth spots.
Idaho senior forward Chelsea Small garnered preseason offensive player of the year honors for a second-straight year, while Utah State senior defender Natalie Norris was selected as the preseason defensive player of the year.
Denver and Idaho led WAC teams with three preseason all-conference selections each. “It’s a little disappointing not to have any of our kids be put on there, but it’s probably going to be a little bit of a motivating factor,” Quinn said. “We have a large senior class that has literally built this program from the ground up. At the end of the day, I think the seniors and several others will have something to say about the order of finish by the end of the season.”
The 2012 WAC season is set to kickoff Aug. 17 with seven of the WAC’s nine teams in action.