Eastern Tabbed Sixth in Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll
After a sixth-place finish in 2010, Eagles predicted to have similar run in 2011
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The Eastern Washington University volleyball team is eager to prove pollsters wrong. In the 2011 Big Sky Preseason Coaches' Poll, released Thursday (Aug. 4) by the league office, EWU was picked to finish sixth in the upcoming season, which would leave the team out of the postseason picture for the second year in a row.
The Eagles garnered 34 total points to finish just behind No. 5 rated Idaho State (36) and No. 4 Sacramento State (40).
"The preseason ranking is obviously reflective of our finish last year," said EWU head coach Miles Kydd. "Our job is to go out and prove voters wrong."
Eastern finished sixth in the 2010 league race with a 7-9 record, thus missing the cut for postseason play. Prior to 2010, EWU had finished in the top three of the Big Sky regular-season standings and advanced to the semifinals of the BSC tournament for 14-consecutive years.
"The goal every season, regardless of what we may be up against, is to not only get to the Big Sky Tournament, but to win it," added Kydd. "This year is no different. I am confident in our team and excited to get the season started."
Kydd is returning nine letterwinners from his 2010 squad, including four starters and the primary libero from the 6-2 offense utilized most of last season. In addition, EWU has two returning redshirts and seven newcomers that, collectively, boast an average height of 6-2.
Among the top returners are juniors Cora Kellerman and Shelby Puckett. Kellerman, who redshirted last season due to medical issues, was selected as the team captain for 2011. Puckett returns after a successful sophomore season in which she was selected to the All-Big Sky Honorable Mention squad. Puckett led the Eagle offense with 272 total kills and a 2.67 kills per set average. She hit in double digits in 11 of 16 conference matches and had four double-doubles throughout the year.
The league coaches picked Northern Colorado as the favorite heading into 2011. The Bears received 63 total points and seven of eight first-place votes. Portland State was second with 55 and Montana landed in third with 44 tallies.
2011 Big Sky Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Team||Points (First-Place Votes)|
|1. Northern Colorado||63 (7)|
|2. Portland State||55 (2)|
|4. Sacramento State||40|
|5. Idaho State||36|
|6. Eastern Washington||34|
|7. Northern Arizona||26|
|8. Montana State||15|
|9. Weber State||11|
|2010 Standings||Big Sky Record (Overall)|
|T1. Portland State||14-2 (21-9)|
|T1. Northern Colorado||14-2 (24-7)|
|T3. Idaho State||9-7 (18-13)|
|T3. Montana||9-7 (13-15)|
|5. Sacramento State||8-8 (15-17)|
|6. Eastern Washington||7-9 (8-19)|
|7. Northern Arizona||6-10 (10-16)|
|8. Montana State||3-13 (10-19)|
|9. Weber State||2-14 (4-27)|