Six Pac-12 volleyball teams ranked in AVCA preseason poll
SAN FRANCISCO — Defending NCAA and Pac-12 Champion STANFORD was voted the No. 1 team in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Coaches Poll, which was announced today. An overwhelming favorite to win the 2019 national championship, the Cardinal received 62 out of a possible 64 first-place votes to lead six top-25 ranked Pac-12 teams.
The Cardinal returns two-time AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer, as well as nearly its entire national championship starting lineup back for 2019, including Pac-12 Libero of the Year and co-NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Morgan Hentz, Pac-12 Setter of the Year Jenna Gray and Audriana Fitzmorris, all of which were AVCA All-Americans last season. Stanford was also picked to win the Pac-12 crown, which announced yesterday.
OREGON is ranked No. 11 in the national poll after finishing the 2018 campaign with a run to the NCAA Regional final. The Ducks had their best season since 2012 last year, and welcomes back All-American Ronika Stone, in addition to signing a top-10 recruiting class for this fall.
Also in the top 15 of the polling are WASHINGTON and USC. Ranking No. 13, the Huskies also returns an All-American in Kara Bajema. Welcoming back All-American Brooke Botkin and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Raquel Lázaro, USC is ranked No. 14 in the poll.
Rounding out the Pac-12 teams in the preseason top 25 are No. 22 WASHINGTON STATE and No. 24 ARIZONA. The Cougs are looking to build off of its most successful three-year stretch, making it to the NCAA Regional semifinal last season, while the Wildcats also look to build on the 2018 campaign which put the team back in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six years.
Three more Pac-12 teams were outside of the top 25 but received votes, including COLORADO, UCLA and UTAH.
The top collegiate-conference in the country, the Cardinal’s nation-leading eighth NCAA title last year was the 16th in Conference history, a NCAA record. Eight Pac-12 teams earned NCAA Tournament bids in 2018, the most of any league. It marked the fifth time in the last six years at least eight teams received bids.
The 2019 volleyball campaign begins on Friday, Aug. 30. Pac-12 Networks is slated to televised 88 regular-season matches, beginning on September 8. For a full schedule and more information, visit pac-12.com.
2019 AVCA PRESEASON POLL
|Rank||School (1st Place Votes)||Total Points|
|8.||Penn State (1)||1182|
Others receiving votes and listed on two or more ballots: Missouri 100; UTAH 56; Colorado State 51; UCF 45; Pepperdine 36; Florida State 33; Hawai'i 13; Northern Iowa 13; TCU 10; UCLA 7; Cincinnati 6; Rice 6; South Carolina 6; Texas State 6; Loyola Marymount 4; COLORADO 3; Kansas 2. Four teams mentioned on only one ballot for a total of 15 combined points.