Six Pac-12 teams ranked in preseason top 25
By the Pac-12 Conference
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- Six Pac-12 Conference women's volleyball teams were ranked in the top 25 of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Coaches poll, the AVCA released Monday. With 54 first-place votes and 1,485 points, UCLA was ranked the preseason No. 1 team in the nation.
The six Pac-12 teams ranked in the preseason poll also finished the 2011 campaign ranked in the final top 25.
The Bruins return five starters from last year's national championship team, including senior outside hitter Rachael Kidder and first team All-Pac-12 selection junior outside hitter Kelly Reeves. AVCA National Coach of the Year Mike Sealy enters his third season at the UCLA helm, having just returned from serving as the scout coach for the USA men's volleyball team at the London Olympics.
Receiving a first-place vote and 1,233 points, USC was ranked fifth in the poll. The Trojans are coming off a second-straight trip to the NCAA semifinals and welcome back the 2011 Pac-12 Libero of the Year Natalie Hagglund. Ranked just out of the top five was STANFORD with three first-place votes and 1,197 points. The Cardinal inked the top-rated recruiting class in the nation.
WASHINGTON earned 677 points to rank 14th in the poll. The Huskies will look to the 2011 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Krista Vansant to lead the team. CALIFORNIA was ranked 17th with 583 points and OREGON was 20th with 366 points. In addition, ARIZONA was listed under having also received votes.
All seven Pac-12 teams appearing in the poll received NCAA Tournament bids in 2011.
Pac-12 volleyball teams are looking forward to a historic year with the launch of the Pac-12 Networks in a couple days. Conference teams will have unprecedented television exposure as 82 regular-season contests are slated to be televised on the Networks. In addition, a pair of regular-season Pac-12 matches will also be televised nationally on ESPN2 for the first time ever. The first Pac-12 women's volleyball game scheduled to be televised on the Pac-12 Networks is an exhibition match putting USC versus the Jiangsu Chinese team on Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. PT. The regular season begins the weekend of Friday, Aug. 24.