Boise State

With NCAA’s top goal scorer back, Boise State soccer aims to finish what it started

After winning a share of its first Mountain West Conference regular-season title last season, the Boise State women’s soccer team is favored to repeat as the league’s champion in 2019.

The Broncos received four of a possible 12 first-place votes and 109 total points in a preseason poll of the league’s coaches, which was released Tuesday.

“It’s nice to be acknowledged by your peers. I think the players are going to receive this really, really well,” Boise State coach Jim Thomas said. “But our main focus is to be the postseason No. 1-ranked team rather than the preseason No. 1-ranked team.”

San Jose State, the defending conference tournament champion, garnered three first-place votes and 105 points to secure the No. 2 spot. New Mexico was third with three first-place votes and 104 points, while San Diego State picked up the final two first-place nods and 96 points to land in fourth.

“That’s the Mountain West in a nutshell,” Thomas said. “It’s always a narrow margin.”

Boise State opens the 2019 season at 8 p.m. MT on Friday, Aug. 23, against in-state foe Idaho in Moscow. The Broncos’ home opener is Sunday, Aug. 25, against Eastern Washington. The match starts at 1 p.m. at Boas Soccer Complex.

This year’s roster features seven seniors and 21 returning letter winners, including two-time Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and All-American Raimee Sherle. The Rocky Mountain High grad scored 20 goals last season, tying for the most in the nation. She now has 45 career goals — a Mountain West record — and 98 total points. She was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy watch list earlier this month.

“I just think it’s fun for her to finish what she started. She did it with a group of people that she holds very, very dear,” Thomas said. “Whenever you get the chance to speak to her, you know that she’s the type of person that puts others first — program, people first — and she’s put her class first.

“They’ve helped her and propped her up, and now they get to finish this thing together and get us to where we should be, which is in the NCAA Tournament and as Mountain West champions.”

Other starters back for the Broncos are Mountain West first-teamer McKenna Kynett, second-team honoree Aubree Chatterton, sophomore defender Macie Nelson — a member of the 2018 MW All-Newcomer Team — senior midfielder Emily Curry, senior forward Kristina Serres and junior midfielder Delaney Watson.

Boise State will host the Mountain West Tournament this November.

“We better take care of business now that everyone’s coming down to Boise,” Thomas said. “But I think it’s something that we’re going to share with our community. We’re so buoyed by Boise as a city that we want to share this game and all of our work and all of our accolades with them.”

2019 Mountain West Preseason Poll

1. Boise State (4 first-place votes), 109 points

2. San Jose State (3), 105

3. New Mexico (3), 104

4. San Diego State (2), 96

5. (tie) UNLV, 70

5. (tie) Wyoming, 70

7. Fresno State, 62

8. Colorado College, 59

9. Utah State, 40

10. Colorado State, 33

11. Air Force, 29

12. Nevada, 15

Related stories from Idaho Statesman