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Vikings Tabbed to Win the Big Sky in the Pre-Season Coaches’ Poll
Written by Ryan McCall    Tuesday, 13 August 2013 15:44   

VB Team

OGDEN, Utah – The Portland State volleyball team was selected to win the Big Sky Conference by a vote of conference head coaches. The Vikings accumulated 95 points with seven of the 10 possible first-place votes ahead of Idaho State who tallied 83 points and two first-place votes. The league office released the poll Tuesday afternoon. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.


Portland State won the Big Sky regular season championship last year after going 21-11 overall and 17-3 in conference play. The Vikings entered the final match of the season tied with Idaho State before defeating the Bengals in four sets to take the regular season title. PSU will host the 2013 championship in Portland, Ore., Nov. 29-30. The six-team tournament will play four matches on Friday, with the championship match played on Saturday.

The Vikings return a pair of All-Big Sky first team selections in Garyn Schlatter and Jaklyn Wheeler. Wheeler was named the Big Sky's Top Newcomer. Kasimira "Kasi" Clark also returns after being named the league's Libero of the Year and setting the Portland State single-season digs record.

PSU Head Coach Michael Seemann, who is entering his seventh season, has guided Portland State to the 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012 regular season titles, and to the 2008 and 2010 league tournament championships, which propelled the Vikings on to the NCAA tournament both years.

Idaho State was picked to finish second with two first-place votes and 83 total points. ISU defeated Northern Arizona in the semifinals of the conference tournament, but lost to host Northern Colorado 3-2 in the championship match. Idaho State finished the regular-season 23-8 overall and 16-4 in league play.

Idaho State returns five starters including their libero Kylee Searle-Sessions. ISU also returns setter Lori Mendenhall-Lee, the regular-season Most Valuable Player. Chad Teichert, who enters his sixth season, leads the Bengals.

Defending conference champion Northern Colorado was picked third by the coaches with a total of 75 points. The Bears finished the season 24-11 overall and 14-6 in conference. UNC was the fourth seed at the Big Sky Championship and defeated North Dakota, Portland State and Idaho State to win the tournament. The Bears lost to No. 3 Oregon in the NCAA Tournement.

Lyndsey Oates, who is entering her ninth season, leads Northern Colorado. UNC returns three starters, and lost setter Marissa Hughes, and outside hitter Kelley Arnold.

North Dakota was picked fourth with 74 points. UND finished the season 15-17 overall and 10-10 in the league to make it to their first Big Sky Conference Championship. UND returns all of their starters including middle blocker Ronni Munkeby, outside hitter Lexi Robinson and setter Nikki Husfeldt.

Northern Arizona is picked fifth by the coaches with 59 points, and two first-place votes. First-year coach Ken Murphy leads NAU. The Lumberjacks return three starters to their roster including Freshman of the Year Payton Bock. NAU also returns middle blocker Sydney Kemper and outside hitter Janae Vander Ploeg.

The Lumberjacks finished just three points ahead of sixth place Eastern Washington, which finished the season 5-26 overall and 5-15 in the league play.

The Eagles have a brand new coaching staff this season with a familiar head coach in Wade Benson. Benson was the head coach of EWU from 2000-06 before leaving for Auburn. In 11 seasons as a head coach, Benson has compiled a 239-115 overall record. During his stint at EWU, the Eagles did not finished the season lower than third, including winning the regular-season from 2002-04.

Rounding out the poll was Sacramento State (7th, 49 points), Montana State (8th, 37), Southern Utah (9th, 28), Weber State (10th, 26) and Montana (11th, 23).

The Vikings are in their first week of preseason camp and will take to the court this Saturday, Aug. 17 for an intrasquad scrimmage at the Peter W. Stott Center starting at 1 p.m. PT. They will have an alumni match Saturday, Aug. 24 before opening the regular season Friday, Aug. 30 against Gonzaga.

2013 Big Sky Conference Volleyball Preseason Poll

Team

Points

1. Portland State

95 (7)

2. Idaho State

83 (2)

3. Northern Colorado

75

4. North Dakota

74

5. Northern Arizona

59 (1)

6. Eastern Washington

56

7. Sacramento State

49

8. Montana State

37

9. Southern Utah

28

10. Weber State

26

11. Montana 

23

(Number of first-place votes in parenthesis)
Ryan McCall
Assistant Media Relations Director, Portland State University

Volleyball, Women's Basketball, Softball
PH: 503.725.5744 | CELL: 503.473.4154

 

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