WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- In a polling of the Conference’s 12 women’s volleyball coaches, UCLA was voted the preseason favorite to win the 2012 Pac-12 regular season, the Conference announced Thursday. The defending NCAA champion Bruins received 120 points and 10 first-place votes.
Entering his third season at the Bruin helm, 2011 AVCA National Coach of the Year Mike Sealy welcomes back five starters from last year’s national championship team, including senior outside hitter Rachael Kidder and first-team All-Pac-12 pick junior outside hitter Kelly Reeves. STANFORD, with 109 points and receiving two first-place votes, was second in the poll. The Cardinal will be a strong contender after inking the top-rated recruiting class in the nation.
Third in the polling is USC with 96 points. Last year’s Pac-12 champion, the Trojans made back-to-back appearances in the national semifinal. Making its best appearance in the polling since 1991, OREGON is fourth with 91 points. WASHINGTON’s 83 points are good for fifth, followed by CALIFORNIA with 77 points.
ARIZONA garnered 56 points to place seventh, followed by Conference rival ARIZONA STATE with 43 points in eighth. OREGON STATE (41), UTAH (39), WASHINGTON STATE (22) and COLORADO (15) round out the coaches poll.
The preseason coaches poll has been administered every year since the first season of Pac-12 women’s volleyball in 1986. It has predicted the regular-season champion correctly 17 times in 26 years.
Pac-12 teams have traditionally been among the best in the nation. In 2011, six teams were ranked in the top 25 in the nation all season, with five spending most of the year in the top five. In addition, seven teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, with UCLA and USC advancing to the national semifinals.
It will be a landmark year for the Conference, which is getting ready to launch the Pac-12 Networks in six days. Pac-12 volleyball teams will have unprecedented television exposure, with 82 games being televised on the Networks. In addition, two regular-season Pac-12 matches will be nationally televised on ESPNU. For a full schedule of televised Pac-12 matches, visit www.pac-12.org.
2012 Pac-12 Volleyball Coaches Poll
1. UCLA (10) 120
2. Stanford (2) 109
3. USC 96
4. Oregon 91
5. Washington 83
6. California 77
7. Arizona 56
8. Arizona State 43
9. Oregon State 41
10. Utah 39
11. Washington State 22
12. Colorado 15