When it comes to women’s soccer in the Mountain West, the conversation starts and stops with San Diego State.
The Aztecs have won the last three MW regular season and tournament titles, and were picked in the MW Preseason Coaches’ Poll to win the conference again in 2015. But SDSU will have to earn it on the field, as there are a few other talented teams who could threaten its spot atop the conference.
The Wyoming Cowboys are leading the pack heading into conference play with a 4-1-3 record, followed by Utah State (5-3-1), SDSU (4-3), UNLV (5-4) and Nevada (3-4-1) rounding out the top five.
There is nothing too out of the ordinary in the three tops spots, but UNLV and Nevada were both expected to finish in the bottom half of the conference. Nevada was picked to finish dead last — one spot ahead of Colorado State.
The big surprise so far this season has been Colorado College. The Tigers are typically a strong program — they finished fourth in the final standings last year, and were picked to finish second this year. They are currently 2-6-1, the 10th-worst among MW teams, and will need solid conference play to prove the coaches right.
CSU currently sits at 3-5-1, which may not sound too exciting for Ram fans, but three wins is not too shabby for a team that won just four all of last season and is only in its third year of Division I play.
The Rams’ nemesis Wyoming looks ready to build upon a successful campaign from last year, where it finished second to SDSU in the Mountain West. The Cowboys are looking back at the rest of the pack heading into conference play, and with eight returning starters, another strong finish appears imminent. Surprisingly, though, Wyoming received no first-place votes in the preseason poll.
Boise State (2-4-3) received the only other first-place vote outside of SDSU and Colorado College. The Broncos, who finished sixth last year, were again picked to finish sixth in 2015.
While the current records don’t reflect the preseason thoughts, the final outcome looks again to be determined the play of San Diego State. While the Aztecs currently sit in third, they played a tough non-conference schedule, which included a 2-0 win at No. 23 Kentucky. To escape non-conference play relatively clean, SDSU is in prime position to continue its MW dominance and win its fourth straight title.
Colorado State will be home to start conference play this weekend. The Rams host Fresno State (1-6) Friday at 4 p.m. at Lagoon Field, and will follow that up with a contest against San Jose State (2-3-2) Sunday at 1 p.m.
Collegian Soccer Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.