Spartans picked second in preseason Mountain Pacific Sports Federation coaches' poll.

Coach Gary St. Clair's Spartans
received one first-place vote in
the MPSF poll.
Woodland, Calif.-----The University of New Mexico Lobos topped the MPSF men’s soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll with five first-place votes compared to one each for runner-up SAN JOSE STATE Spartans and third-ranked UNLV. SACRAMENTO STATE garnered the No. 4 ranking, followed by No. 5 University of DENVER, No. 6 AIR FORCE ACADEMY and No. 7 SAN DIEGO STATE; reflecting exactly their respective conference finishes in 2002...

Rank Team Points 2002 team record:

No. 1 New Mexico 35 points (5 first-place votes) 18-4-0 (5-1-0 MPSF)

No. 2 San Jose State 28 points (1) 12-9-0 (5-1-0 MPSF)

No. 3 UNLV 22 points (1) 12-8-0 (4-2-0 MPSF)

No. 4 Sacramento State 20 points 5-10-4 (2-3-1 MPSF)

No. 5 Denver 18 points 9-12-0 (2-4-0 MPSF)

No. 6 Air Force 14 points 8-10-1 (2-4-0 MPSF)

No. 7 San Diego State 10 points 4-13-2 (0-5-1 MPSF)

No. 1: New Mexico 18-4-0 (5-1-0) in 2002, is currently tied for No. 22 in the NSCAA Preseason Coaches’ Top-25 Poll and looks to pick up where they left off last year after winning their second-consecutive MPSF championship title in a 2-1 overtime battle with San Jose State. The Lobos finished 18-4-0 after losing to No. 15 Saint Louis 1-0 in the second-round of the NCAA tournament under first-year Lobo head coach and 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year, Jeremy Fishbein (2nd year). The Lobos look to three-peat as MPSF champs with dynamo sophomore forwards Ben Ashwill and Lance Watson leading the offense with junior keeper Andrew Weber and junior defender Brandon Moss to spearhead a tough defense. UNM opens at University of Wisconsin on Friday...

No. 2: San Jose State 11-9-0 (5-1-0) has proven to be a tough contender the last several years barely missing an undefeated season in 2000, and enduring a tough 2-1 OT loss to UNM in the 2002 MPSF championship. The Spartans, under head coach Gary St. Clair (14th season) return from last year’s 11-9-0 campaign looking for a trip to NCAA post-season action with senior midfielders Frank Sanfilippo and Francisco Martinez providing the offensive leadership along with sophomore forward Randy Poggio. The Spartans open at home against Notre Dame de Namur Friday at 5:00pm...

No. 3: UNLV 12-8-0 (4-2-0 MPSF), is looking to move up after taking third in conference last season. The Runnin’ Rebels and Coach Barry Barto (27th season) open with a tough doubleheader versus University of Washington in Portland on Saturday followed by a visit to No. 22 (tie) University of Portland on Labor Day. UNLV returns experienced senior GK Justin Dennis to guard the net with junior midfielder Alex Hernandez doing the heavy lifting on offensive. The Rebs have a very experienced squad and should be a strong contender for the Federation title...

No. 4: Sacramento State 5-10-4 (2-3-1 MPSF) will host the 2003 MPSF Men’s Soccer Championship Tournament, November 13-16, and would like to be in a position to win the MPSF crown and an NCAA automatic berth at home. Coach Mike Linenberger (15th season) will look to junior forward Patrick Nelle on offense and junior defender Marcos Mercado and sophomore goalkeeper Matt McDougall to shore up the defense. The Hornets open their 2003 season at home Sunday at 2:00pm against UC Riverside...

No. 5: Denver 9-12-0 (2-4-0 MPSF) lost six seniors from last year’s squad, including 2002 MPSF Player of the Year midfielder Nat Borchers, that made it to the MSPF semifinal match. Coach Chad Ashton (seventh season) is looking to rebuild a young Pioneer squad but has an experienced defense as a foundation. Senior Brian Kneuer is the defensive stalwart with junior Mark Wellen assisting in the backfield. Junior forward Chris Fagnant, DU’s fourth-leading scorer from last year’s campaign will lead the offense. Denver opens Friday vs. Marquette at the Air Force Academy...

No. 6: Air Force 8-10-1 (2-4-0 MPSF) junior midfielder Marcus Sagastume, is the son of head coach Lou Sagastume (24th season), and as the team’s 2002 MVP and scoring leader (six goals, seven assists; 19 points) will lead the Falcons offensive. Team captains forward Casey Chronister and midfielder Dan Bolin will look to provide leadership for a team that showed promise in 2002 but was racked with injuries in the latter half of the season. AFA host Gonzaga Friday...