DENVER, Colo. – The Western Athletic Conference released its 2013 Preseason All-Conference Team Tuesday morning featuring seniors Debora Araujo (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC) and Fernanda Gonçalves (Sr., Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Western Nebraska CC). Bakersfield was also selected to finish fifth in the 2013 WAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
Araujo led all Roadrunners with 475 kills for 4.13 kills per set along with 28 service aces. The senior was also second on the team with 245 digs and third in blocks with 73.The Western Nebraska CC transfer helped guide the ‘Runners to a six-game improvement in 2012 from the previous year and played in all but one set.
Like her fellow countrymen, Gonçalves was an intricate member of the CSUB team and paced the Roadrunners to the beat of 1161 assist, the most by any setter last year currently in the WAC. Offensively, the Belo Horizonte, Brazil native tallied 85 kills but was very efficient with her opportunities hitting a .381clip. Gonçalves also flashed her defensive skills posting 187 digs, good for third on the team.
New Mexico State, the defending WAC Tournament Champions, was selected by the WAC coaches as a favorite to take the WAC crown with seven first-place votes and edged past Idaho with 62 total points. The favored Aggies return six starters including their libero from the 2012 squad that went to the NCAA tournament and finished 23-10. Idaho, the recipient of two first-place votes was selected to finish second behind NMSU with 58 points. The Vandals compiled a 23-9 record the past two seasons in conference play and lost to conference foe New Mexico State in the WAC Tournament Final 3-1.
Utah Valley was selected to place third this season receiving 44 points by the coaches. The Wolverines finished 18-9 and 7-1 in the Great West Conference. UVU claimed its first GWC Tournament Championship last year in sweeping fashion.
Rounding out the poll were Seattle U (39), Kansas City (35), Texas-Pan American (21), Grand Canyon (17) and Chicago State (10).
Alyssa Schultz was named the Preseason Player of the Year after posting 248 kills and including a .340 hit percentage. The junior also earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors and 1st-Team All-WAC last year. Taylor Wilkinson and Katelyn Peterson also joined Schultz in the Preseason All-WAC Team for the Vandals.
Bakersfield opens the 2013 season at the Davidson Wildcat Classic Aug. 30-31. The WAC Tournament has moved and will be hosted by Grand Canyon University, November 25-27, at the GCU Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.