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PROVO, Utah (Aug. 14, 2007) - For the first time since 2002, the BYU women's volleyball team will begin the season ranked in the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll. The Cougars, who finished last year at No. 20, are ranked 17th in the preseason poll released Tuesday by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
"We recognize the excitement that surrounds the preseason poll," said BYU head coach Jason Watson, who has gone 50-10 in his two seasons at the helm. "We understand that this is the beginning of a long season of work ahead of us. We are looking forward to our season beginning in Iowa against Marquette on Aug. 24."
BYU has a rich history of rankings in the AVCA Top 25 Poll. Among NCAA Division I programs, the Cougars are 10th all-time in total number of weeks ranked (279) and 11th in weeks ranked in the top 10 (122) and weeks ranked No. 1 (4). The Cougars have also traditionally finished strong, coming in 10th all-time in both weeks ranked in the final poll (20) and weeks ranked in the top five to end the year (3) and tied for sixth in weeks ranked No. 1 in the final poll (1). Prior to this year's preseason ranking, the Cougars were last ranked preseason to begin the 2002 season at No. 23. Four Cougar opponents also appear in the 2007 preseason rankings. Wisconsin, whom BYU will face in its home opener on Aug. 31, is ranked No. 11 while Stanford (No. 2) and Cal Poly (No. 14) will give the Cougars a run for their money in the Stanford Invitational Sept. 6-8. Defending MWC Champion Utah is ranked No. 21 preseason and will take on BYU Oct. 12 in Salt Lake City and Nov. 9 in Provo, Utah. Defending NCAA Champion Nebraska tops the preseason poll for the third straight year.
In addition to the national ranking, the Cougars have been tabbed as the early favorite to win the Mountain West Conference title. With six starters returning from last year's 25-6 squad, including All-American outside hitter Chelsea Goodman, BYU should be a formidable presence on the national scene this year.