Boise State’s soccer team has been picked to place fourth in this season’s Western Athletic Conference race. After placing tied for second last year, this season’s squad will have to replace 11 seniors from the 2007 roster.
Back from last year’s 9-7-3 (5-1-1 WAC) team is the WAC’s Freshman of the Year and first-team All-WAC honoree Shannon Saxton. This time around the forward from Beaverton, Ore. will be a sophomore. She is coming off an amazing debut season from a year ago when she led the WAC in scoring and in the process shattered Bronco records for points in a season with 39 and goals with 17, along with dishing out five assists. Saxton enters the 2008 season as one of two Boise State players named to this year’s Preseason All-WAC team.
Senior midfielder Randi Baker joins Saxton on the preseason team after finishing the 2007 campaign as the team’s third leading scorer with 12 points on four goals and four assists.
Hawai’i has been selected as the favorite for the 2008 WAC season as determined by a vote by the league’s eight head coaches. After finishing with a 6-1-0 record in conference during the 2007 season, the defending WAC champions received seven of the possible eight first place votes for 49 points. Hawai’i returns nine starters, tied for second-most in the league. The Rainbow Wahine look to become back-to-back WAC champions for the first time in school history.
Fresno State was voted to finish in second place, while receiving one first place vote with a tally of 40 total points. The Bulldogs ended the 2007 season in a tie for second place and lost to Hawai’i, 1-0, in the championship game of the conference tournament. Fresno State eturns six starters, three of which were all-WAC selections at the end of last season. SoccerBuzz.com ranked Fresno State at No. 25 and Hawai’i at No. 26 among the West’s top 2008 recruiting classes.
Last years’ fourth place team, Utah State (37 points), was voted in the No. 3 spot for the 2008 season. The Aggies return seven starters, including co-defensive player of the year, Lindsey Smart. Utah State got out of the first round of the WAC tournament; but then lost to eventual champion, Hawai’i, in the second round of the tournament.
Nevada rounds out the top five with 28 points. The Spartans of San Jose State (18 points) were picked to finish in sixth place, while Idaho (14 points) and Louisiana Tech (8 points) were voted in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively.
The 2008 WAC season is set to kickoff Aug. 22 with six teams in action. The WAC Soccer Tournament heads to McKay Stadium in Reno, Nev. after playing the 2007 Championship in Boise. The six-team tournament will be held November 6-9.
2008 WAC Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Hawai’i (7) 49
2. Fresno State (1) 40
3. Utah State 37
4. Boise State 30
5. Nevada 28
6. San Jose State 18
7. Idaho 14
8. Louisiana Tech 8