Volleyball Picked No. 2 In AVCA Preseason Poll

Aug. 8, 2005

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SEATTLE - The Washington volleyball team is ranked No. 2 in the 2005 CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll released today, receiving 15 first-place votes. The Huskies, who advanced to the program's first Final Four last season and finished the year with a No. 3 ranking, return six starters and four All-Americans. The season opens on Aug. 26-27 when Washington hosts Wyoming, Montana State, and Gardner-Webb in the Husky Challenge.

Nebraska earned the top ranking, receiving 35 of the 60 first-placed votes, while Stanford was picked third, Hawaii fourth and Penn State fifth. Minnesota, Southern California, Florida, Tennessee and Wisconsin round out the top 10.

Washington finished the 2004 season with a 28-3 record and won its first Pacific-10 Conference Championship with a 16-2 record. The Huskies set program records for best start and consecutive wins when it opened the season with 22 straight victories. Washington made its first Final Four appearance where it lost to eventual national champion Stanford in the national semifinal match.

The Huskies return six starters for the 2005 campaign and are the only team in the nation fielding four All-Americans. Washington returns All-American outside hitters Sanja Tomasevic and Christal Morrison, All-American setter Courtney Thompson and All-American libero Candace Lee. UW also returns first team All-Pac-10 outside hitter Brie Hagerty and All-Pac-10 honorable mention middle blocker Darla Myhre to its arsenal.

'This is a nice tribute to the accomplishments of our past few teams,' said fifth year head coach and 2004 National Coach of the Year, Jim McLaughlin. 'It also shows that our program has gained some respect based on our recent success. However, we don't put too much significance in the rankings at this point. What is important is where we end up at the end of the season. It is really too early to know exactly how good this team will be but we certainly realize that there will be a lot expected of them. I think we do have the potential to be a very good team but if we rest on our early season laurels, we won't be in this position very long. We have a lot of work to do to become a championship-caliber team and we must continue to do the things that got us to this point, hard work and focusing on day to day improvement. Our players are excited about the upcoming season and we only hope that we are able to improve one spot when the season concludes.'

The Pac-10 and Big Ten each nabbed three spots in the top 10 of the preseason poll. Overall, the Pac-10 is represented by six teams in the top 19 spots.

The Huskies face Gardner-Webb in the Husky Challenge on Aug. 26 at 7 pm to open the season and will take on Montana State on Aug. 27 at 7 pm. Washington will also host Trinity Western on Sept. 1 at 1 pm in a free exhibition match.

The team reports to campus today and will have its first practice tomorrow.

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