The Western Athletic Conference office released its preseason poll August 5, with the volleyball coaches selecting New Mexico State to finish second in the WAC regular season, while Hawai'i was picked to win its 16th-straight regular-season title.
Along with the second-place prediction by the league's coaches, the Aggies had three student-athletes on the 2011 WAC Preseason team, while Hawaii had the most with four selections. Senior middle hitter Kelsey Brennan and senior setter Jennah DeVries join sophomore middle hitter Desiree Scott on the preseason team along with three players from Utah State and one from Fresno State and Idaho.
Hawai'i earned 49 total points followed by the Aggies with 41. Utah State was picked to finish third with 34 points, followed closely by Idaho in fourth with 33 points. Fresno State was picked fifth with 25 points, while Nevada was selected sixth with 20 points. San Jose State and Louisiana Tech rounded out the poll with 14 and eight points, respectively.
The Aggies are coming off an 18-13 record and were selected second in the poll after an upsetting defeat in the 2010 WAC Tournament by USU. Utah State advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 after it won its first-ever WAC Tournament title with a sweep of Hawai'i in the championship match.
DeVries is coming off a great 2010 season where she earned AVCA All-American (honorable mention) honors. She ranked second in the WAC after averaging 11.06 assists and 2.19 digs per match.
Brennan is a two-time WAC preseason selection and was a 2010 first team all-WAC selection along with earning 2010 Florida State Invitational all-tournament honors. Scott is returning after seeing action in 99 sets as a freshman. She posted 106 kills to go along with 76 total blocks.
Nine of the 12 student-athletes selected to the preseason all-WAC team were named to the 2010 all-WAC teams. Seven members were first team all-WAC honorees a year ago (Brennan, Danielson, DeVries, Hewitt, McArthur, Satele and Walker), while two 2010 second team honorees are on the team (Clarke and Hartong).
The 2011 season begins the weekend of Aug. 26 with all eight teams in action. The 2011 WAC Volleyball Tournament will be held Nov. 21-23 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and will include the top six teams in the regular-season standings. The championship match will be televised live on ESPNU.
2011 WAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Hawai'i (7) 49
2. New Mexico State 41
3. Utah State (1) 34
4. Idaho 33
5. Fresno State 25
6. Nevada 20
7. San Jose State 14
8. Louisiana Tech 8
2011 Preseason All-WAC Team
Player Yr. Pos. School
Kelsey Brennan Sr. MH New Mexico State
Brianna Clarke Sr. MB Fresno State
Kanani Danielson Sr. OH Hawai'i
Jennah DeVries Sr. S New Mexico State
Emily Hartong So. MB Hawai'i
Brittany Hewitt Jr. M Hawai'i
Liz McArthur Sr. OH Utah State
Chanteal Satele Sr. OH Hawai'i
Desiree Scott So. MH New Mexico State
Shay Sorensen Jr. OPP Utah State
Allison Walker So. OH Idaho
Joselyn White Jr. OH Utah State
Preseason Player of the Year: Kanani Danielson, Sr., Hawai'i