COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A voting panel comprised of the 11 Mountain West head women's volleyball coaches chose defending league champion San Diego State as the favorite to win the 2013 MW regular season title. The Aztecs, 2012 MW co-champions with Colorado State, collected nine first-place votes and 99 total points. The Rams were selected to finish second with 90 points and received the two remaining first-place votes. Five points separated third through sixth place with UNLV edging out newcomer Utah State for third with 70 points to the Aggies' 68. New Mexico and Fresno State were separated by one point as the Lobos earned 66 points for fifth place and the Bulldogs were sixth with 65. Boise State landed in seventh with 51 points, followed by Wyoming in eighth with 37, newcomer San José State in ninth with 27, Air Force in 10th with 17 and Nevada rounded out the poll with 15.
San Diego State senior Johnna Fouch has been named the 2013 MW Preseason Player of the Year and the designated setter on the seven-member All-MW Preseason Team. Fouch is joined on the preseason team by fellow Aztec Raegan Shelton, New Mexico teammates Chantale Riddle and Miquella Lovato, and Colorado State setter Deedra Foss. Fresno State's Korrin Wild and UNLV's Madeline Westman round out the list of preseason honorees as selected by the head coaches. Six of the seven members are returning 2012 All-MW team members. Fouch and Riddle also are returning honorable mention All-Americans.
Fouch, the only repeat preseason honoree from 2012, is one of the top returning setters in the Conference along with Foss. Fouch recorded 10.88 assists per set in MW action and 9.27 aps in overall play while leading the 2012 Aztecs to their first NCAA appearance since 2001. The Redlands, Calif., native is a two-time All-MW honoree and currently ranks 16th on the MW career assists list with 3,614. Foss earned All-MW honors as a sophomore for the Rams in 2012. The McKenna, Wash., native averaged 11.11 assists per set in MW play and 10.74 aps overall, leading CSU to its 18th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to Fouch, SDSU returns 2012 All-MW pick Shelton to her preseason-favored squad. The senior from Amarillo, Texas, averaged 3.27 kills per set in MW action and 3.17 overall as an outside hitter. Wild, a senior outside hitter, led the league in service aces with 0.46 per set in MW play and 0.44 overall. The Kingsburg, Calif., native also averaged 3.28 kills per set in Conference play and 3.39 kps in all matches for the Bulldogs. Westman, a senior middle blocker, maintained one of the top 10 attack percentages in the league in 2012 at .292 overall. The 2012 All-MW pick from Wauconda, Ill., also averaged 1.27 blocks per set overall for the Rebels.
Riddle and Lovato are returning All-MW selections for the Lobos. Riddle, a junior opposite hitter from Roswell, N.M., led the Mountain West in kills per set with 4.19 overall and 4.13 in league play. The designated libero on the 2012 All-MW team and 2013 preseason All-MW squad, Lovato led league play with 4.71 digs per set. The senior from Pojoaque, N.M. averaged 4.39 dps overall.
The 2013 season opens Friday, Aug. 30, with all 11 league teams in action. Conference play begins on Wednesday, Sept. 18, with Boise State at Utah State and Colorado State entertaining Wyoming in the first round of the annual Border War.