Long Beach State Favorite To Claim 2011 Title
The Big West Conference head coaches selected Long Beach State to claim the 2011 women's volleyball title after earning seven first-place votes and 78 total points, according to the volleyball preseason poll conducted today.
Looking to capture their 11th conference championship, Long Beach State is coming off a season where the 49ers found themselves knotted in second place with Cal Poly after recording a 12-4 conference mark. Long Beach State earned an at-large selection to its 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament, 25th overall. The 49ers welcome back 2010 All-Big West First Team members sophomore Haleigh Hampton and senior Caitlin Ledoux. The duo is slated to headline a fairly young roster that showcases eight freshmen and five sophomores.
The Cal Poly Mustangs received two first-place votes en route to a point total of 72 to grab the second spot. Cal Poly, who tied Long Beach State for second place in the Big West standings a season ago, will be led by 2010 All-Big West First Team selections junior Jennifer Keddy and sophomore Kristina Graven, who was also named 2010 Big West Freshman of the Year and AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year. Cal Poly is looking to reclaim the top spot in the standings for the first time since capturing back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007.
For the second consecutive year UC Santa Barbara narrowly grabbed the third spot with 53 overall points. The Gauchos return five starters and nine letterwinners from a 2010 roster that finished fourth in the league with a 10-6 mark while registering an overall record of 16-13.
Defending champion Cal State Fullerton was selected fourth after picking up 52 points and is followed by Pacific who sits one point back with 51. The Aggies of UC Davis secured sixth place with 38 points, UC Irvine nabbed the seventh slot with 30 points and Cal State Northridge finished eighth after capturing 20 points. UC Riverside rounds out the nine-team field with 11 points.
2011 Big West Women's Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Long Beach State (7) - 78
2. Cal Poly (2) - 72
3. UC Santa Barbara - 53
4. Cal State Fullerton - 52
5. Pacific - 51
6. UC Davis - 38
7. UC Irvine - 30
8. Cal State Northridge - 20
9. UC Riverside - 11
( ) Denotes first place votes