Aug. 15, 2007
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's volleyball team has been selected to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference for the 2007 season according to a preseason vote of the league's head coaches.
Pepperdine University was selected as the favorite to capture the 2007 WCC regular season title. The Waves garnered five first place votes and tallied 61 overall points to earn the top spot. The University of San Diego, the defending WCC Champions, was tabbed second with 52 overall points and one first place vote. The Toreros edged Santa Clara University, which was selected third with 50 overall points and also received one first place vote. Loyola Marymount University was tabbed fourth with 37 overall points, followed by the University of San Francisco (30). Saint Mary's College was selected sixth with 27 overall points and picked up a first place vote. The Bulldogs (23) and the University of Portland (8) rounded out this year's poll in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
Gonzaga returns 14 letterwinners for the 2007 campaign, including four senior starters. Returning to the mix are seniors Heather Dunn, Becky Jones, Briawna Mueller and Alecia Douglas. Both Dunn and Jones earned conference honorable mention accolades in 2006.
Gonzaga closed out the 2006 season with a 9-20 overall record and a 4-10 mark in WCC action. The four conference wins were the most by the Bulldogs since the 2001 season.
Pepperdine returns five starters and nine letterwinners from last season's squad that finished with a 16-12 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 years. The Waves, who finished second in the WCC last season, return three players who were selected to the All-WCC freshman team in outside hitter Rachel Lumsden, opposite hitter Kayla Walker, and setter Kiah Fiers, the WCC Freshman of the Year.
The San Diego Toreros enjoyed a stellar 2006 campaign, capturing their second WCC title in the last three years and advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen. The Toreros, ranked No. 15 in the AVCA preseason poll, return four starters and 11 letterwinners, including All-WCC first team member Laurel Abrahamson.
Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount, selected third and fourth in this year's preseason poll, both look for return trips to the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos return four starters and 11 letterwinners from last season's team that finished with a 20-9 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth consecutive time. The Broncos will be led by All-American senior middle blocker Anna Cmaylo. LMU, which just missed an NCAA Tournament bid in 2006, should be bolstered by the return of seven starters and 11 letterwinners, including All-WCC first team opposite hitter Heather Hughes.
San Francisco, Saint Mary's, Gonzaga, and Portland round out this year's poll. The Dons, led by first-year head coach Gilad Doron, welcome back six starters and 12 letterwinners from last season's squad, which posted a 23-10 overall record. Headlining the list of returnees for the Dons is senior outside hitter Kristen Hasselberg, a 2006 All-WCC first team member. The Gaels, picked sixth, welcome back four starters, including All-WCC freshman team selection Megan Burton (MB). Portland, picked eighth, return numerous key performers and look to climb the WCC standings in 2007.
Women's Volleyball 2007 Preseason Poll1. Pepperdine - 61 (5)2. San Diego - 52 (1)3. Santa Clara - 50 (1)4. Loyola Marymount - 375. San Francisco - 306. Saint Mary's - 27 (1)7. GONZAGA - 238. Portland - 8
(First place votes)