The Seattle University volleyball team was picked to finish ninth in the preseason coaches poll, released Tuesday by the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) office.
According to the poll, Seattle U will open WAC play with an immediate challenge, as New Mexico State, the opponent for the Redhawks in the conference home opener Thursday, Sept. 13, received eight of 10 first place votes to emerge as the preseason favorite. The Aggies feature sophomore outside hitter Meredith Hays, the WAC Preseason Player of the Year, along with two other members of the Preseason All-WAC Team, junior outside hitter Lauren Loerch and junior middle hitter Desiree Scott.
The other two first place votes went to Seattle U's travel partner Idaho, who finished second in the preseason poll. The Vandals placed two players on the preseason all-conference team: senior middle hitter Alex Sele and junior outside hitter Allison Walker. UTSA, third in the poll, also has two representatives on the preseason all-conference team: junior outside hitter/middle blocker McKenzie Adams and senior rightside hitter Whitney Walls.
Utah State was just behind UTSA in fourth place and placed two players on the Preseason All-WAC Team: senior opposite hitter Shay Sorensen and senior outside hitter Joselyn White. In fifth place in the preseason coaches poll is Texas State, featuring preseason all-conference honoree Amari Deardorff, a junior rightside hitter. The other two preseason all-conference selections represent sixth place Denver (senior middle blocker Faimie Kingsley) and seventh place San Jose State (senior middle blocker Alex Akana).
UT Arlington finished in eighth place in the preseason coaches poll, followed by Seattle U in ninth place and Louisiana Tech in tenth place. The Redhawks will need to perform above the expectations of the coaches in order to reach the WAC Tournament Nov. 19-21 in San Antonio, Texas, as the top eight schools in the league standings at the end of the regular season qualify for the chance to win the conference tournament and the accompanying automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Seattle University volleyball team will open the regular season at the UniWyo Wyoming Invitational in Laramie, Wyo., Aug. 24-25, with matches against Presbyterian, Eastern Washington, San Francisco, and the host Cowgirls. The home opener for the Redhawks is Saturday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Connolly Center against Long Beach State, who just missed being ranked in the AVCA Preseason Top 25.