SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State volleyball team was selected to finish seventh among 11 teams in the Big Sky Conference's preseason coaches poll today.
Previously a nine-member league, the Big Sky expanded to 11 teams last year with the addition of members North Dakota and Southern Utah.
Defending Big Sky regular season champion Portland State was selected first in the poll with 95 points and seven first-place votes, followed by Idaho State (83 points, 2 first place), Northern Colorado (75), North Dakota (74), Northern Arizona (59, 2 first place), Eastern Washington (56), Sacramento State (49), Montana State (37), Southern Utah (28), Weber State (26) and Montana (23). Northern Colorado was last season's Big Sky Tournament champion and recipient of the an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Sacramento State finished the 2012 season ranked seventh in the final league standings with a 12-18 overall record and an 8-12 conference mark. The team won each of its final three matches of the year, and was eliminated from Big Sky Tournament contention on the final day of the regular season (the top six teams qualify for the conference's postseason event).
The Hornets return eight players from last season's team, including a pair of starters in team co-captains and Kayla Beal (rightside hitter) and Hannah Hettinga (setter). Also back in 2013 are senior middle blocker Chelcy Motes, senior setter Katie Aprile, junior rightside hitter Kiley Mansfield, sophomore defensive specialist Katelyn Ivy, and sophomore outside hitters Sloan Lovett and Lauren Aikels.
The Hornets, who will have new starters at both outside hitter positions, both middle blocker positions and libero, also welcome five freshmen to the fold in 2013.
Sacramento State began its summer practice schedule yesterday, and will open the season at a two-day, four-match tournament in Philadelphia on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Team - Points (First Place Votes)
1. Portland State - 95 (7)
2. Idaho State - 83 (2)
3. Northern Colorado - 75
4. North Dakota - 74
5. Northern Arizona - 59 (2)
6. Eastern Washington - 56
7. Sacramento State - 49
8. Montana State - 37
9. Southern Utah - 28
10. Weber State - 26
11. Montana - 23