Aug. 3, 2006
San Bruno, Calif. - Gonzaga University's women's volleyball team has been picked to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference this season in a pre-season vote of the conference coaches.
Santa Clara University was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as West Coast Conference champions in 2006. The Broncos racked up 64 points, receiving all eight first place votes to sweep the poll. Pepperdine was picked to finish second with 55 points. San Diego was tapped for third place with 45 points, while Saint Mary¹s (36) nudged past Loyola Marymount (35) for fourth. San Francisco (27), Gonzaga (17) and Portland (9) took the sixth through eighth spots, respectively.
Santa Clara recorded its best season in school history in 2005, taking its first WCC title since 2000 and reaching the NCAA Final Four. The Broncos notched an overall record of 27-5 and became first WCC school to reach the Final Four. Santa Clara finished the season ranked No. 4 in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll and looks to return to the top of the conference with 10 returners, including WCC Freshman of the Year, Brittany Lowe.
Gonzaga, who finished the 2005 season with a 10-21 overall record, returns 10 letterwinners from a season ago. The squad is led by junior outside hitter Becky Jones and junior middle blocker Briawna Mueller. Jones, who earned WCC Honorable Mention accolades in 2005, led the Bulldogs with 4.10 kills and 2.92 digs per game. Mueller dominated on defense, racking up 131 total blocks (1.14 per game), including 98 block assists and 31 solo blocks.
Women¹s Volleyball 2006 Preseason Poll(First place votes)
1. Santa Clara - 64 (8)2. Pepperdine - 553. San Diego - 454. Saint Mary¹s - 365. Loyola Marymount - 356. San Francisco - 277. Gonzaga - 178. Portland - 9