Volleyball Picked Eighth Overall in Big Sky Preseason Poll
Aug. 10, 2006
OGDEN, Utah - The University of Northern Colorado volleyball team was selected to finish eighth in its inaugural season of play in the Big Sky Conference in a preseason vote of the leagues coaches released on Friday.
The volleyball program is one of two Northern Colorado athletic teams (wrestling being the other) who were fast-tracked and finished the reclassification process to Division I a year earlier than the other teams. The volleyball Bears are eligible for both the Big Sky Conference Tournament and the NCAA Tournament this season. The Bears are coming off a 14-win season in 2005, the first year for head coach Lyndsey Benson. Benson returns nine players from last year's team, including a pair of seniors in Lizzy Rhoads and Meredith Alder as well as junior libero Abby Mayne, the 2005 Division I Independent Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
The volleyball team began practice on Aug. 8 and will host an intrasquad scrimmage at the Campus Recreation Center at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug.19. The team opens the regular season the weekend of Aug. 25-26 at the University of Arizona Tournament.
For the fourth time in five years, Sacramento State was selected as the preseason favorite to win the Big Sky Volleyball Championship. The Hornets were a unanimous choice, receiving eight first place votes for a total of 64 points. Sacramento State finished the 2005 season with a 13-1 conference record, and won its seventh Big Sky title.
Eastern Washington, a three-time regular-season champion, finished second in the voting; the Eagles garnered 52 points. Eastern Washington went 10-4 last year and posted its fifth-straight 20-win season.
The battle for third went to Portland State, which finished with 50 points and one first-place vote. The Vikings jumped up a spot from last year's poll, while Montana State finished fourth with 39 points. Weber State was picked fifth, garnering 35 points and Idaho State claimed sixth place with 25 points. Montana tallied 24 points for seventh place.
Northern Colorado ranked eighth in the preseason poll, with 19 points. Northern Arizona rounded out the voting with 16 points and a ninth place finish.