SAN DIEGO – By a vote of the 12 Mountain West Conference women’s soccer head coaches, the San Diego State Aztecs are expected to finish the 2022 regular season in second place. The announcement was made at the conference office in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Wednesday.
San Diego State is expected to finish first or second in the preseason poll in 12 of the last 13 years and enters this season as Mountain West’s most decorated program with six regular season titles and five tournament titles. , as well as six NCAA appearances.
The Aztecs received a total of 100 points, while New Mexico earned first place with 121 points and 11 first-place votes. Boise State came in third with 99 points and a first-place vote, followed in fourth by Fresno State with 96 points and Utah State in fifth with 82 points. Rounding out the top half of the table, UNLV is expected to finish in sixth place with 63 points.
The bottom half are expected to finish the regular season in the following order. Colorado State seventh (57 points), San Jose State eighth (48 points), then Nevada and Wyoming ninth (34 points), followed by Colorado College (32 points) and the Air Force (26 points).
SDSU brings back seven starters from last season, including sophomore forward Dennis Castro, a 2021 second team all-MW performer and freshman team member. The San Ysidro, Calif. native led the Aztecs in total points in 2021 and topped the Aztecs scoring charts with eight goals. The Aztecs also return to the second team of All-MW winners Kiera Utush in the middle of the field. Utush, a senior from Ripon, Calif., started all 11 league games for the Aztecs and her 1,037 minutes were two of the team lead in conference action. Moreover, the guardian Alexa Madueno returns between positions for the Aztecs, the runner-up was a three-time MW Defensive Player of the Week in 2021 and won second-team all-MW in 2020. Emma Gaines Ramos also returns in 2022. She started in 19 games in 2021 and won the all-MW first team in 2020 in which she started all 11 games for the Aztecs and produced three assists.
A total of seven players scored all 18 goals for the Aztecs last season. Three of them are back in 2022 and have accounted for 12 of the team tallies. Additionally, four of the eight players who produced all 15 assists for the team are back.
The Aztecs’ regular season kicks off Thursday, August 18, when SDSU travels to Nebraska for a game against the Cornhuskers. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. CT and the game will stream on BIG+ (subscription required).