Aug. 8, 2003
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
In a vote of the eight head coaches in the Mountain West Conference, Utah is the favorite to win the 2003 MWC title for the second straight year after earning five of the eight first-place votes and 47 points. Defending regular season champion Colorado State was second with 41 points and two first-place votes, while BYU was third with36 points. San Diego State, which picked up a first-place vote, was fourth, followed by UNLV, Wyoming, New Mexico and Air Force.
Five teams were represented on the 2003 preseason All-MWC team, which is also selected by the league's head coaches. Utah senior Kim Turner highlighted the squad as the preseason Player of the Year. San Diego State senior Aspen McPartland, who shared MWC Co-Player of the Year honors last year with Turner, was also selected to the preseason All-MWC squad.
Nine All-Mountain West Conference players return for the 2003 season, including Turner and McPartland. The only two-time MWC tournament MVP in league history, Turner led the Utes to back-to-back conference tournament titles. McPartland led the Aztecs to their best finish since joining the MWC at 11-3 (second place). SDSU also returns Zlatina Anguelova (Sr., OH), who finished in the MWC top 10 for kills and digs last season.
Defending regular season champion Colorado State returns three all-conference players in Katie Jo Shirley (Jr., OH), and preseason All-MWC selections Melissa Courtney (Jr., S) and Lindsey Kerr (Jr., L). Courtney led the league in assists per game, while Shirley led the MWC in hitting percentage and Kerr set a conference record with 433 digs. AVCA West Region- and MWC Freshman of the Year Tess Rogers (So., OH) also returns for the Rams after setting the conference freshman record for kills with 419.
BYU and Wyoming each return one senior from last year's all-conference squad, both of which were named to this year's preseason All-MWC team. Laura Nielsen (Sr., MB), an MWC top 10 performer in hitting percentage and blocks, will lead the Cougars, while 2003 MWC kill leader and league record holder Michele Rauter (Sr., OH) will pace the Wyoming front line. Anna Reines (Sr., OH) returns for the Lobos after ranking third in the MWC in kills per game.
|2003 MWC Preseason Coaches Poll|
|Rank||Team (1st votes)||Pts.||2002 Finish|
|2.||Colorado State (2)||41||1st|
|4.||San Diego State (1)||35||2nd|
|2003 Preseason All-MWC Team|
|Melissa Courtney||Jr.||Setter||Colorado State|
|Lindsey Kerr||Jr.||Libero||Colorado State|