For the fifth consecutive time, the Colorado State Rams are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, as voted on by the coaches.
In total, CSU received 10 of the 11 first-place votes, with the lone pick going astray because coaches cannot vote for their own team. The Rams, who went 29-4 and won the league last season at 17-1 en route to an NCAA Tournament second round appearance, are also ranked 25th in the preseason AVCA Coaches Poll. They have four of the seven players on the Mountain West Preseason Team, led by Preseason Player of the Year Katie Oleksak (the 2017 Mountain West Player/Setter of the Year).
“Colorado State should continue to be at the top of the pack, as they return many outstanding players from last year,” Fresno State head coach Jonathan Winder said to VolleyMob. “They have proven to be the top team for many years now.”
That other first-place vote was awarded to Wyoming, who finished second last year at 12-6 in MWC play and 17-14 overall.
“Wyoming has been young but really good in the elate two years,” Colorado State head coach Tom Hilbert told VolleyMob. “This season those players will be coming of age and they should be very competitive in the conference championship race.”
Boise State earned a third-place finish to 2017 at 10-8 in league play along with 17-14 overall. They tied with San Diego State (16-15, 10-8) both in 2017 and in the preseason vote. Each school also landed one player on Mountain West Preseason Team.
“Boise State will have many new players, yet they still have multiple talented and experienced players in our conference to compete at the top,” Winder added.
New Mexico edged out San Jose State – who had the final player on the preseason team – for the final spot in the top five before reaching the bottom half of the conference projections.
The full list of team predictions and individual awards can be seen below via the Mountain West:
|1. Colorado State (10)||100|
|2. Wyoming (1)||91|
|T3. Boise State||75|
|T3. San Diego State||75|
|5. New Mexico||59|
|6. San José State||56|
|7. Fresno State||39|
|T8. Air Force||31|
|T8. Utah State||31|
2018 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON TEAM
|Sabryn Roberts||Sr.||OH||Boise State|
|Kirstie Hillyer||R-Jr.||MB||Colorado State|
|Paulina Hougaard-Jensen||Jr.||MB||Colorado State|
|Katie Oleksak||Jr.||S||Colorado State|
|Breana Runnels||R-So.||OH||Colorado State|
|Deja Harris||Sr.||MB||San Diego State|
|Luiza Andrade||Sr.||L||San José State|
MW Preseason Player of the Year: Katie Oleksak, Jr., S, Colorado State