Aggie Soccer Picked To Finish 9th In Preseason Coaches Poll

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The Western Athletic Conference released the preseason coaches’ soccer poll and preseason team, Tuesday, Aug. 4, the league office announced.

The WAC’s nine head coaches voted and Utah State was selected to repeat as conference champions and New Mexico State, in its inaugural season, was ninth in the poll.

“Well, I think we are positioned right where we thought we would be,” head coach Michael Needham said. “This year will be an exciting year, full of history and excitement as we battle to surprise the conference in our first season.

“We are excited to get started,” he said. “The buzz around the campus and the Las Cruces community has been outstanding and now it is time for our kids to go out and prove how much we appreciate everyone’s support.”

The Aggies begin practice, Wednesday, Aug. 5, and host New Mexico Highlands, Aug. 15, in their first exhibition match.

After finishing with a perfect 7-0-0 WAC record during the 2008 season, Utah State received five of the possible nine first place votes for 61 points. Hawai'i was voted to finish in second place, with two first place votes for a total of 53 points.

Last year's WAC Tournament Champions, Fresno State came in third with 49 points along with a pair of first place votes. The 2009 WAC Tournament host Boise State was selected fourth with 45 points. Nevada was picked fifth with 39 points and San Jose State was predicted to finish in sixth place with 28 points.

Louisiana Tech was selected seventh with 21 points and Idaho was voted to the eighth spot with 15 points. The Aggies followed with 13 points in their first-ever soccer poll.

“We will not concern ourselves with our position at the beginning of the year, rather take one step at a time and take a good look around when we get to November,” Needham said.

The WAC Tournament heads to the Boas Soccer Complex in Boise, Idaho, this season and the six-team tournament is Nov. 5-8.

The league office also released the preseason All-WAC team and Players of the Year. Boise State junior forward Shannon Saxton garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors, while Fresno State junior keeper Kaitlyn Revel was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Utah State had four preseason all-conference picks while Hawai'i had three players selected. Fresno State added a pair of honorees as Boise State and Nevada both supplied one.

2009 WAC Coaches' Preseason Poll
Rank Team (First Place Votes) Points
1. Utah State (5) 61
2. Hawai'i (2) 53
3. Fresno State (2) 49
4. Boise State 45
5. Nevada 39
6. San Jose State 28
7. Louisiana Tech 21
8. Idaho 15
9. New Mexico State 13

2009 Preseason All-WAC Team
Ambree Ako, F, Hawai'i, Sr.
Shantel Flanary, F, Utah State, So.
Lauren Hansen, F, Utah State, Jr.
Shannon Saxton, F, Boise State, Jr.
Christen Drummond, MF, Nevada, Jr.
Mari Punzal, MF, Hawai'i, Jr.
Chandra Salmon, MF, Utah State, So.
Chelsea Deptula, D, Hawai'i, Jr.
Lindsay Smart, D, Utah State, Sr.
Danielle Solich, D, Fresno State, So.
Kaitlyn Revel, GK, Fresno State, Jr.

Preseason Players of the Year
Offensive: Shannon Saxton, F, Boise State, Jr.
Defensive: Kaitlyn Revel, GK, Fresno State, Jr.