Eastern recognized as one of top four teams in conference for the third year in a row
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The Eastern Washington University volleyball team was selected fourth in the 2010 Big Sky Preseason Coaches’ Poll, announced Wednesday (Aug. 11) by the league office. This marks the third time in as many years the Eagles have been among the top four teams in the BSC heading into the season.
Portland State and Montana both received 56 points to earn the title of co-favorites for the 2010 season, while defending BSC tournament champion Northern Colorado came in third with 51 points. The Eagles earned 50 points in this year’s poll, including three first place votes, which tied the most first-place tallies for any team in the conference.
Head coach Miles Kydd will return two starters from the 2009 roster in Jacque Brown and Chenoa Coviare, both of whom will serve as senior captains for the 2010 campaign. Coviare is coming off a highly successful season, where she was named to the All-Big Sky First Team, as well as the BSC All-Tournament team. She led the league in total blocks (144), while ranking second in the Big Sky and 19th in the entire nation in blocks per set (1.35). Two-time All-BSC player Alysha Cook also returns for her senior season, while juniors Cora Kellerman and Lindsey Petroni will provide additional depth and leadership to this year’s squad.
Eastern closed out the 2009 regular season with a 12-4 conference record, tying Northern Colorado for second place in the league standings. The two teams met in the semifinal match of the BSC tournament, which marked EWU’s eighth postseason tournament appearance in the last ten years, but despite sweeping UNC during the regular season, the Eagles fell to the eventual-champion Bears, 3-2.
Montana, who was the only other team besides Eastern to receive three first-place votes in this year’s poll, took fourth in the Big Sky last season. The Grizzlies, under fifth-year head coach Jerry Wagner, return the 2009 BSC Libero of the Year in Brittney Brown, as well as two first-team all-conference selections from a year ago. Portland State claimed the regular-season crown in 2009 with its 14-2 record. By virtue of winning that title, the Vikings will host the 2010 tournament at the Stott Center on Nov. 27-28.
Eastern’s 2010 conference season will commence with a trip to Griz country, as it takes on preseason-favorite Montana on Sept. 17. EWU will return home the following weekend to face Idaho State (Sept. 24) and Weber State (Sept. 25), who were picked fifth and eighth, respectively.
Preseason Volleyball Coaches' Poll
1. Portland State 56 (2)
1. Montana 56 (3)
3. Northern Colorado 51 (1)
4. Eastern Washington 50 (3)
5. Idaho State 29
5. Sacramento State 29
7. Northern Arizona 26
8. Weber State 19
9. Montana State 8
(Number of first place votes in parenthesis)
Standings-- Team Record
1. Portland State 21-8 (14-2)
2. Eastern Washington 18-11 (12-4)
2. Northern Colorado 21-11 (12-4)
4. Montana 14-14 (10-6)
5. Idaho State 13-15 (7-9)
6. Sacramento State 16-16 (6-10)
7. Northern Arizona 8-17 (5-11)
8. Weber State 8-21 (5-11)
9. Montana State 3-23 (1-15)