Pac-12-record nine volleyball teams ranked

Washington Athletics

Pac-12 Coaches vote Stanford league favorite & preseason team

SAN FRANCISCO - A league-record nine Pac-12 volleyball teams are ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Associated (AVCA) Preseason Coaches poll, which was released on Wednesday. STANFORD was the highest-ranked Pac-12 team, coming in at No. 2 with six first-place votes, while WASHINGTON was 10th.

The Cardinal picked up 1,468 points, in addition to the six first-place votes, coming in behind defending NCAA Champion Penn State (1,238). Stanford, which returns three All-Americans this season, is the favorite to win the Pac-12 regular season in a polling of the Conference coaches, which was announced yesterday.

The Huskies have a new coach in Keegan Cook, who was an assistant on last year’s team that went 31-3. UW had 953 points. OREGON was 13th in the poll with 722 points, followed by No. 16 ARIZONA STATE (529), No. 17 ARIZONA (498) and No. 20 UCLA (316).

USC was came in at No. 22 in the polling with 255 points, with UTAH appearing in the poll at No. 23 with 211 points, just ahead of No. 24 COLORADO (188 points). Not appearing in the top-25 but receiving votes is OREGON STATE (89 points) to round out the Conference’s representation in the rankings.

The most Conference teams to be ranked in the preseason prior to today was seven (2010, 1995, 1994). The Pac-12 is coming off another historic season, sending a league-best 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament in 2014, going perfect 10-0 in the first round. The Conference had nine teams ranked in the final AVCA poll last year, also a league record.

Arguably the best conference in the country in the sport of women’s volleyball, the Pac-12 will be seeking its 15th NCAA title this season. At least one Conference team has advanced to the national semifinal in 31 of the 33 years of the tournament, including the Cardinal which advanced that far in 2014.

Last year, 14 players were named AVCA All-Americans and eight return for 2015, including senior standouts such as Stanford’s Madi Bugg and Jordan Burgess, USC’s Samantha Bricio, UO’s Martenne Bettendorf, ASU’s Macey Gardner and UW’s Lianna Sybeldon. Sophomores Merete Lutz of Stanford and Mary-Kate Marshall of OSU also return to help lead their respective teams this season.

The regular season is set to begin Friday, Aug. 28. This year 92 Pac-12 volleyball matches will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks and an additional three will be nationally televised on ESPNU. For the full regular-season schedule, including televised matches and listings, visit www.pac-12.com.

For more information on the AVCA Coaches Poll, visit www.avca.org. To view the full 2015 Pac-12 volleyball schedule, visit www.pac-12.com

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