Men's Volleyball, Sports

49ers selected No. 1 by coaches

The Long Beach State women’s volleyball team will have the target on its backs once again this season. 

The 49ers received seven of nine first-place votes to be tabbed the favorites in the Big West Conference preseason coaches’ poll released Monday morning. 

UC Irvine, which lost to the ‘Niners in last season’s conference championship match, was ranked second and split the other two first-place votes with UC Santa Barbara, which finished third in the poll. 

Cal State Fullerton finished fourth, followed by a tie for fifth between Cal Poly and UC Davis. Pacific was selected seventh, while Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside tied for eighth to round out the poll. 

LBSU, which repeated as conference champions last season to capture its record-10th crown, finished 22-9 overall and 12-4 in the Big West en route to a 23rd consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. The ‘Niners were particularly dominant at home in conference action, posting an 8-0 record at the Walter Pyramid. 

2010 Big West preseason coaches poll
No.  Team, 1st-place votes, points
1   LONG BEACH STATE (7) – 79
2   UC Irvine (1) – 68 pts
3   UC Santa Barbara (1) – 65 pts
4   Cal State Fullerton – 47 pts
T5   Cal Poly – 45 pts
T5   UC Davis – 45 pts
7   Pacific – 28 pts
T8   Cal State Northridge – 14 pts
T8   UC Riverside – 14 pts

The Beach will aim for a three-peat  with notable returners Ashley Lee,  Caitlin Ledoux and Lauren Minkel.  Lee and Ledoux were named to the  All-Big West first team last season,  while Minkel anchored the team’s  defense. 

However, the team will have to replace a pair of standout senior 6-footers with the departure of All-Big West first-teamer Naomi Washington and honorable mention selection Brittney Herzog.
Expected to make an immediate impact is 6-foot-7 freshman middle blocker Haleigh Hampton. 

LBSU will return to the court in an alumni game at the Gold Mine on Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. The 49ers will open the regular season with the two-day Long Beach State Baden Classic, starting with Rutgers on Aug. 27 at the Pyramid. The ‘Niners will host CSUF in the Big West opener Sept. 25.  

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