California Volleyball Ranked No. 6 in AVCA Preseason Poll
Aug. 18, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
The California volleyball team received the No. 6 ranking in the 2009 AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll released Aug. 18 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The ranking marks the ninth time in school history that the Golden Bears have been ranked to open a season, the seventh consecutive since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal begins 2009 ranked in the same position that it finished in 2008 after opening last season ranked fifth.
In 2007, the Bears opened the season ranked No. 12 and completed the year with their highest final ranking in program history at No. 4. That season, Cal advanced to the NCAA national semifinal match; the furthest any Bear squad has gone into postseason play. Cal's other preseason rankings include holding the No. 17 spot in 2006, No. 19 in 2005, No. 10 in 2004, No. 24 in 2003, No. 9 in 1989, and No. 12 in 1983. In total, the Bears have been ranked 131 times in the weekly AVCA poll of Division I collegiate volleyball coaches.
Topping all teams in the preseason poll was two-time defending NCAA champion Penn State. The Nittany Lions received 52 of the first-place votes and led all teams with 1,487 points. No. 2-ranked Texas received six first-place votes. Nebraska received the No. 3 spot, with 15 more points than No. 4 Washington, which received the final two first-place votes. Fifth-ranked Stanford rounded out the top five teams.
The Bears will face teams ranked in the preseason top 25 in 13 matches in 2009, including two meetings each against No. 4 Washington, No. 5 Stanford, No. 9 UCLA, No. 12 USC, and No. 14 Oregon. In the Sept. 3-6 Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic, Cal will take on three ranked teams in succession with matches against No. 2 Texas, No. 7 Hawai'i, and No. 20 Saint Louis. In addition, the Bears take the court for six more matches against teams also receiving votes in the first preseason poll with two matches against Saint Mary's College and Arizona; and one match each against UC Irvine and San Francisco.
The poll features six Pac-10 schools and contains no schools that completed 2008 unranked. Please visit http://avca.org/divisions/division-one-women/polls/ for the complete Aug. 18 preseason poll.
Cal returns two All-Americans from a year ago including two-time selection senior outside hitter Hana Cutura. Junior setter Carli Lloyd received second-team All-America honors and All-Pac-10 recognition a year ago. The Bears also bring back plenty of firepower via starting senior middle hitter Mindi Wiley and two 2008 Pac-10 All-Freshman selections in sophomores Tarah Murrey and Shannon Hawari.
The Bears will host their annual Blue and Gold intrasquad scrimmage at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22 at Haas Pavilion. Admission is free to the public and doors open at 6 p.m. as the Bears simulate a full-match experience. Fans are invited to attend the warm-up session preceding the scrimmage at 6:20 p.m. Cal starts its season at the Nevada Marriott Courtyard/Fairfield Invitational in Reno, Nev. Aug. 28-30. For information about tickets to home matches, please visit www.CalBears.com.