In only its second year of existence, the New Mexico State soccer team is still new to the WAC party. The Aggies were voted eighth in the WAC Preseason Poll, which is voted on by the nine league head coaches.
In 2009, the Aggies finished fifth in the WAC standings with a 4-3-1 record in league play, and they earned a berth to the conference tournament in their inaugural season. Utah State narrowly edged Boise State as the favorite in the coaches’ poll. The Preseason All-WAC team and players of the year were also announced by the conference office.
“We don’t put a lot of stock into preseason rankings, nor do I really care about them, nobody has played a game yet,” head coach Michael Needham said. “We are concerned with getting ourselves organized right now. I think there is a lot of parity in the WAC, which allows any team to be dangerous at any time. We will be focused on playing our best soccer by the time we start with Nevada on Oct. 1.
“That being said, I am excited about it. Last year, we were ranked ninth in the preseason, and I think that worked out pretty well for us, so I guess eighth place is a great place to start our journey.”
Last season, Utah State finished second in the WAC standings, and the Navy-clad Aggies received three first-place votes for 59 points. Boise State, the 2009 WAC Tournament Champion, was picked second but received six first-place votes for 58 points.
The 2009 conference regular season champion, San Jose State, was selected third and received 40 points. Nevada was voted to finish fourth (36 points), and Fresno State was fifth (35 points). HawaiÂ‘i was picked sixth (30 points), while Idaho was voted in seventh (28 points).
The Aggies earned 26 points in the poll for the eighth-place finish. The WAC Tournament host this season, Louisiana Tech was selected ninth (12 points).
Utah State junior forward Shantel Flanary garnered Preseason WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors, while San Jose State junior defender Jessica Ingram was selected as the Preseason WAC Defensive Player of the Year.
NM State opens the 2010 campaign inside Aggie Memorial Stadium against UTEP, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. The Aggies look to earn its second consecutive WAC Tournament berth in the six-team field, Nov. 4-7, at the Lady Techster Soccer Field in Ruston, La.