SAN RAMON, Calif. - The University of California San Diego women's volleyball team has been slated to finish third in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) South Division as the league released its 2018 preseason coaches poll Monday.
Cal State San Bernardino tops the South Division with 67 points and 12 first-place votes and is expected to repeat as the CCAA champion. Cal State LA is second with 47 points and UC San Diego is just behind, totaling 46 points and one first-place vote. Cal State San Marcos (42 points) is fourth, Cal Poly Pomona (18) is fifth, and Cal State Dominguez Hills (17) is sixth.
A predicted tight race in the North Division is led by Sonoma State with 68 points and five first-place votes. Cal State East Bay is second with 66 points and five first-place votes, while Chico State is third with 63 points and three first-place votes. Cal State Monterey Bay (45) is fourth, San Francisco State (36) is fifth, Stanislaus State (21) is sixth, and Humboldt State (16) rounds out the list in seventh.
The top four teams in each division qualify for the CCAA Championship tournament.
In 2017, UC San Diego posted a 16-10 overall record and a 10-7 mark in CCAA play, good for a tie for third place in the South. The Tritons have advanced to the league tournament every year since its inception in 2015.
Ninth-year head coach Ricci Luyties returns three starters and a primary libero for 2018. All-conference middle blockers Micah Hammond (senior) and Jessica Rieble (junior) averaged 2.87 and 3.10 points per set, respectively. Rieble led all CCAA players in points per set and was second with 1.14 blocks per set. Hammond was fourth in points per set and hitting percentage at .326. Outside hitter Molly Dalziel (senior) started all 26 matches last year and averaged 1.9 points per set, while libero Alyson Penrose (junior) averaged 4.36 digs per set, the eighth-highest number in the CCAA.
Six other letterwinners return to the court including sophomore setter Mary Bagshaw, senior libero Kayla Evans (San Diego/Del Norte HS), sophomore middle blocker Julia Jackson, senior outside hitter Morgan Kissick, junior opposite Emily Kimball (Encinitas/San Dieguito Academy), and senior middle blocker Allison Tiegs.
In addition, the Tritons welcome eight first-year players, four of those transfers.
UC San Diego is receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Coaches Poll. Cal State San Bernardino is the lone CCAA team in the national top-25, coming in at No. 11. Cal State LA and Sonoma State are also receiving votes.
UC San Diego opens its 2018 campaign this week as it competes in the First Hawaiian Bank Challenge, hosted by Hawai'i Hilo, Aug. 23-25. The Tritons take on the Vulcans as well as Hawai'i Pacific, Chaminade, and Saint Martin's. CCAA play begins on Sept. 8 when UC San Diego travels cross-county to Cal State San Marcos. The team's home slate commences on Sept. 14 as it hosts San Francisco State.
1. Sonoma State, 68 points (5 first-place votes)
2. Cal State East Bay, 66 (5)
3. Chico State, 63 (3)
4. Cal State Monterey Bay, 45
5. San Francisco State, 36
6. Stanislaus State, 21
7. Humboldt State, 16
1. Cal State San Bernardino, 67 (12)
2. Cal State LA, 47
3. UC San Diego, 46 (1)
4. Cal State San Marcos, 42
5. Cal Poly Pomona, 18
6. Cal State Dominguez Hills, 17
2018 CCAA Champion
Cal State San Bernardino (10 votes)