Volleyball Picked Second in Preseason Coaches Poll
July 8, 2004
FRESNO, Calif. - Receiving the most first place votes in a preseason volleyball coaches poll since joining the Western Athletic Conference, the Fresno State volleyball team turned heads in the 2004 coaches poll by tallying 66 points, including three first-place votes.
The Bulldogs, who are coming off a 21-7 mark and are a combined 44-14 over the past two seasons, placed second to eight-time WAC champion and 2002 and '03 NCAA Semifinalist Hawai'i for the third straight year.
Fresno State finished second to Hawai'i for the second consecutive year last fall after posting a 10-3 league mark.
Eight letterwinners are back for Fresno State, including three All-WAC selections and 2003 AVCA Honorable Mention All-American Kristen Fenton.
The 2004 WAC Coaches Preseason Poll is the closest vote since UH edged San Jose State by nine votes in 2000. This year, the Rainbow Wahine recorded 74 points with five first-place votes while the 'Dogs were eight points back. Hawai'i loses three All-Americans but returns the AVCA National Freshman of the Year in Kanoe Kamana'o.
Rice (19-10) and Nevada (16-15) also received one first-place vote a piece to round out the poll. The Owls, who went 9-4 in the Eastern Division a year ago for a second place finish, recorded 59 votes. The Wolf Pack, who finished third in the Western Division at 7-6, was one point back with 58 votes.
Tied for fourth in the poll was the 2003 Eastern Division winner, SMU (58 votes). The Mustangs, who return four All-WAC honorees, posted a 23-7 overall worksheet and went 11-2 in league place to earn their first divisional WAC title.
Rounding the bottom half of the poll was San Jose State (6th, 44 points), Boise State (7th, 26 points), Louisiana Tech (8th, 24 points), Tulsa (9th, 23 points) and UTEP (10th, 18 points).
Fresno State opens the 2004 season on the road, Sept. 3-4, at the SMS/Dr. Mary Jo Winn Invitational in Springfield, Mo. The Bulldogs home debut will be their own invitational, Sept. 16-18. Fresno State is scheduled to play on match in the Save Mart Center this fall when it hosts Hawai'i on Sept. 30.