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Preseason Soccer Coaches Poll and All-WAC Team Announced
Courtesy: WAC
DENVER— Denver was selected as the favorite to win the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title as determined by a vote of the league’s nine head coaches. The 2012 WAC preseason all-conference soccer team and preseason Players of the Year were also announced as voted on by the league’s head coaches.

Denver was selected first in the poll as the team received six first place place votes and 62 total points. The Pioneers return nine of their 11 starters from a team that went 16-5-0 in 2011 and finished third in the Sun Belt Conference.

Last year’s WAC Tournament champion Utah State was voted to finish second, receiving three first place votes with a tally of 59 total points. Seattle U was picked third with 47 points. San Jose State was picked fourth with 38 points after tying for third last season with a 4-2-1 mark. Idaho (32 points) was picked to finish in fifth place, while UTSA and Texas State finished in a tie for the sixth spot with 27 points each. New Mexico State (19 points) and Louisiana Tech (13 points) were voted in the eighth and ninth spots, respectively.

Idaho senior forward Chelsea Small garnered Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors for a second-straight season, while Utah State senior defender Natalie Norris was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Small is a three-time all-WAC honoree, earning the distinction in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She was named the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2010, and was also selected the league’s Freshman of the Year in 2009. Small led the WAC last season in shots (26) and shots per game (3.71) during league play. She also tied as the league-leader in goals (4) and goals per game (.057).

Norris earned first team all-WAC honors in both 2010 and 2011. She was named the 2010 and 2011 WAC Defensive Player of the Year. Norris anchored the Utah State defense to five shutouts during WAC play last season.

Denver and Idaho led WAC teams with three preseason all-conference selections each. Utah State had two honorees, while San Jose State, Seattle U and UTSA each had one representative.

The 2012 WAC season is set to kickoff Aug. 17 with seven of the WAC's nine teams in action. The WAC Soccer Tournament heads to Utah State's Chuck and Gloria Bell Soccer Field in Logan, Utah. The six-team tournament will be held November 1-2, 4.

2012 WAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank Team Points
1. Denver (6) 62
2. Utah State (3) 59
3. Seattle U 47
4. San Jose State 38
5. Idaho 32
T6. UTSA 27
T6. Texas State 27
8. New Mexico State 19
9. Louisiana Tech 13

2012 Preseason All-WAC Team
Player Yr. Pos. School
Kaitlin Bast Sr. F Denver
Kristen Hamilton Jr. F Denver
Chelsea Small Sr. F Idaho
Kelsey Lord Sr. F San Jose State
Nicholette DiGiamcomo Jr. MF Denver
Jill Flockhart Sr. MF Idaho
Kendra Pemberton Jr. MF Utah State
Monique Escalera Jr. D Seattle U
Anka Grotle Jr. D UTSA
Natalie Norris Sr. D Utah State
Liz Boyden Sr. GK Idaho

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Chelsea Small, Sr., F, Idaho

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

Natalie Norris, Sr., D, Utah State
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Seattle U
Utah Valley
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New Mexico State
Texas-Pan American
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CSU Bakersfield -
Grand Canyon -
New Mexico State -
Seattle U -
Utah Valley -