Volleyball: ‘Dogs picked eighth in preseason poll
After finishing last season in fourth place, the Fresno State women’s volleyball team was picked to finish eighth by the Mountain West coaches in the annual preseason poll.
For Fresno State, it is the seventh season under head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell, and she is not surprised about the low selection.
“We’ve often garnered a conservative preseason pick, which is fine with us,” she said. “With the departure of so many impact players and the arrival of new athletes, the conference has no idea who we are at this point. We do.”
In five straight seasons, the Bulldogs have exceeded or matched the preseason pick under Netherby-Sewell. The last time they were ranked eighth before the season was in 2008 (they finished the season in that spot).
Eight Bulldogs return to the squad in 2014, which includes seniors Maci Murdock and Christina Lee, junior outside hitter Zana Bowens, sophomore Maggie Eppright and middle blockers Katie and Molly Pearson.
Newcomers to the squad include junior setter Jelena Jovanovic, a transfer from Florida Atlantic, and redshirt freshman transfer Haylee Roberts. Defensive specialist Jacqueline Hutcheson, middle blocker Lauren Torres and outside hitters Taylor Brubaker and Carly Scarborough round up the true freshmen to the program.
2014 Mountain West Women’s Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Colorado State
2. New Mexico
3. Utah State
4. San Diego State
6. Boise State
8. Fresno State
9. Air Force
10. San Jose State
Football: Fresno, Boise picked to win Mountain West divisionals
With the conference’s second divisional season on the horizon, the Mountain West coaches selected the Boise State Broncos to win the Mountain Division and the Fresno State football team to repeat as West Division champions.
The Broncos finished 2013 with a 6-2 record against Mountain West opponents (8-5 overall), one game behind division winner Utah State. They are in their first year under new head coach Bryan Harsin, as former coach Chris Peterson left to join the University of Washington.
Fifteen starters return for the Broncos from 2013, including quarterback Grant Hedrick, running back Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Matt Miller.
Fresno State, the defending Mountain West Champions, finished the season 7-1 against conference opponents and knocked off Utah State in the inaugural Mountain West Championship Game. Sixteen starters return for the Bulldogs, including wide receiver Josh Harper, running back Josh Quezada and safety Derron Smith.
Defending Mountain Division champion Utah State was voted second to win the divisional title. The Aggies finished 2013 with a 7-1 conference record and were victorious in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl over Northern Illinois.
San Diego State earned the second-place vote in the West Division. The Aztecs finished the 2013 campaign 6-2 in conference play and were one game behind Fresno State. They beat Buffalo 49-24 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
2014 Mountain West Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Boise State
2. Utah State
3. Colorado State
5. New Mexico
6. Air Force
1. Fresno State
2. San Diego State
5. San Jose State
Men’s Basketball: Terry finalizes new deal
After finishing the 2013-14 season runner-up in the College Basketball Invitational, Fresno State coach Rodney Terry has finalized a three-year contract extension.
The extension, which adds three more years on top of the two remaining on his contract, solidifies Terry’s spot as head coach until the end of the 2018-19 season.
“I am honored and thankful to [Fresno State President Joseph] Castro and [former athletic director] Thomas Boeh for their continued support and commitment they have given to me and my staff,” Terry said. “A culture based on hard work, consistency and representing this great community has been established over the past three years, and we will continue to build on that foundation into the future.”
Last season, Terry led the Bulldogs on a midseason explosion and finished the conference slate 9-9 after starting 1-7. Fresno State won 13 of its last 18 games (including the postseason).
The Bulldogs also set home attendance records in the two seasons under Terry. The Fresno State home opener against Cal State Northridge (14,770) and intraconference matchup against San Diego State (14,801) were two of the top five most-attended games in program history.
In the 2014-15 season, the Bulldogs will have four starters returning from the previous year with sophomore forward Braeden Anderson returning from a season-ending injury. Texas transfer Julien Lewis will be joining the squad.
Baseball: Luplow named MW Player of the Year
The Mountain West coaches voted Fresno State outfielder Jordan Luplow as the conference’s Player of the Year and on the First Team in the outfield.
Luplow’s .470 batting average set a Mountain West Conference record. He also led the conference with 54 hits, 14 doubles, 82 total bases, 22 walks, a .713 slugging percentage and .557 on-base percentage.
It is the first Player of the Year award for Fresno State since Tommy Mendonca in 2009 for the Western Athletic Conference.
Mountain West Scholar-Athletes Nets 50 Bulldogs
During the annual Mountain West Scholar-Athlete announcement, 50 Bulldogs were named to the list after maintaining 3.5 cumulative GPAs with two academic terms completed.
Six honorees were members of the Fresno State soccer team and five were on the volleyball squad, the two highest of all the Bulldog sports. Twelve other sports featured honorees, including women’s basketball (5), baseball (4), football (4), women’s cross country (4), men’s track and field (4), women’s tennis (4), softball (3), swimming and diving (3), women’s track and field (3), women’s golf (2), men’s tennis (2) and men’s golf (1).
Fourteen of the honorees were seniors, 15 juniors, 18 sophomores and three freshmen.
The student-athletes had to be starters or significant contributors on their athletic team and have completed at least one academic year at Fresno State while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.