Denver, Colo. - Nicole Irwin of the San Jose State University women’s soccer team has been chosen the Western Athletic Conference Preseason “Offensive Player of the Year.”
Irwin, a senior midfielder out of Dublin, Calif., and Dublin High School, is the reigning WAC “Offensive Player of the Year,” and has earned first-team All-WAC honors in each of the past two seasons. This marks the third straight year in which she has been selected by the league’s eight head coaches, to the 11-player preseason All-WAC squad.
San Jose State was picked to finish fourth in the WAC this season, receiving 33 points. For the first time in its eight-year history, defending WAC Tournament champion Nevada is favored to win the conference crown in 2007. The Wolfpack picked up four first-place votes and 45 points in all. Defending regular-season champion Fresno State and Utah State each garnered a pair of first-place votes, earning 37 and 34 points for second and third place, respectively. After San Jose State, Hawai’i (32), Boise State (20), Idaho (14) and Louisiana Tech (9) rounded out the poll. Boise State will serve as the host of the 2007 WAC Tournament, November 8-11, at the Boas Soccer Complex in Boise, Idaho.
Hawai’i led the way on the preseason All-WAC team with four selections, followed by Nevada with three, Fresno State with two and San Jose State and Utah State with one apiece.
Defenders Lindsey Smart of Utah State and Jessica Wilcox of Nevada shared WAC Preseason “Defensive Player of the Year” honors.
San Jose State opens the 2007 season at South Bay rival Santa Clara on Friday, August 31. Kick-off at Buck Shaw Stadium is set for 5:30 p.m. All eight WAC teams will be in regular-season action for the first time on August 31.
Fourth-year head coach Dave Siracusa’s squad begins the home slate on Sunday, September 2, hosting area opponent University of San Francisco at Spartan Stadium starting at 1:00 p.m. It will be the first of 11 home games for San Jose State in 2007.
The Spartans return 12 letterwinners, eight of them starters, from a 2006 squad that went 7-11-3 overall and matched the program’s best Western Athletic Conference record at 4-2-1. San Jose State has improved its overall win total in each of the last three years under Siracusa.
The team will look to the veteran leadership of eight seniors, all of which were freshmen in Siracusa’s first year in charge. That group includes Irwin, tri-captains Kristin Krale, Heidi Romswinckel-Guise and Jackie Zabek, as well as Kelly Madej, Erica Ng-Pinkerton, Heather Oranje and Tasha Van Dixhorn.
2007 WAC Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Preseason Poll
Team - Points (first-place votes)
1. Nevada - 45 (4)
2. Fresno State - 37 (2)
3. Utah State - 34 (2)
4. San Jose State - 33
5. Hawai’i - 32
6. Boise State - 20
7. Idaho - 14
8. Louisiana Tech - 9
2007 Preseason All-WAC Team
Jessica Domingo, MF, Hawai’i, Jr.
Taryn Fukuroku, F, Hawai’i, Jr.
Nicole Gutierrez, F, Fresno State, Jr.
Nicole Irwin, MF, San Jose State, Sr.
Kori Lu, GK, Hawai’i, Jr.
Samantha Miller, F, Nevada, Jr.
Dana Peart, F, Utah State, Sr.
Alison Sill, MF, Fresno State, Jr.
Lindsey Smart, D, Nevada, Sr.
Koren Takeyama, D, Hawai’i, Sr.
Jessica Wilcox, D, Nevada, Sr.
Preseason Players of the Year
Offensive: Nicole Irwin, MF, San Jose State, Sr.
Co-Defensive: Lindsey Smart, Utah State, So. and Jessica Wilcox, Nevada, Sr.