BYU Ranked 11th in Preseason Coaches Poll

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU received a No. 11 national ranking in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll released today. The Cougars are top-rated among the three Mountain West Conference teams ranked in the poll, followed by Colorado State at No. 14 and Utah at No. 21.

The University of Nebraska, the defending NCAA Division I national volleyball champions, is the overwhelming favorite at No. 1 with 63 first place votes. No. 2 USC received the other two first place ballots. Penn State, Wisconsin and Hawaii round out the top five.

The Mountain West Conference joins the Pac 10, Big XII, Big Ten, Big West and the West Coast as the only leagues with three or more ranked teams in the preseason poll.

BYU returns four all-Mountain West Conference players, including All-American middle blocker Nina Puikkonen, from last year's 26-7 team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Last year the Cougars were picked 13th in the preseason poll and finished with the same rating, after earning a ranking as high as No. 10 during the season. Colorado State reached their highest ranking in school history at No. 3 last year before finishing the year at No. 10 in the final 2000 poll while Utah earned their first-ever national ranking a year ago and finished the season at No. 20.

The Cougars will face six teams this year who are ranked in the preseason poll, and three others that received votes. In addition to conference opponents Colorado State and Utah, BYU will face No. 5 Hawaii, No. 8 Long Beach State, No. 13 UC Santa Barbara and No. 24 Loyola Marymount as well as No. 28 Colorado, No. 33 Utah State and No. 46 Cal Poly. BYU opens the 2001 season Aug. 31 at Washington.

USA TODAY/AVCA Division I

Coaches Top 25

Preseason Poll, August 13, 2001

Rank School (1st-Place Votes) Points 2000 Record Final Poll

1 Nebraska (63) 1623 34-0 1

2 USC (2) 1472 29-3 4

3 Penn State 1374 30-6 6

4 Wisconsin 1320 33-5 2

5 Hawai'i 1261 31-2 3

6 Arizona 1178 28-5 5

7 UCLA 1098 25-8 7

8 Long Beach State 1091 24-8 14

9 Florida 1084 29-5 12

10 Stanford 1017 19-12 19

11 BYU 989 26-7 13

12 Pacific 950 28-4 8

13 UC Santa Barbara 882 26-8 9

14 Colorado State 866 32-5 10

15 Minnesota 724 30-4 11

16 Ohio State 638 26-7 15

17 Pepperdine 606 24-7 18

18 Texas A&M 481 20-9 23

19 Kansas State 354 22-9 16

20 Notre Dame 278 26-7 21

21 Utah 254 23-8 20

22 Santa Clara 232 27-5 17

23 South Carolina 172 22-7 NR

24 Loyola Marymount 155 20-9 25

25 Georgia Tech 123 25-8 NR

Others receiving points and listed on two or more ballots:

Louisville (112)

Missouri (109)

Colorado (108)

Washington State (102)

Michigan State (88)

North Carolina (62)

Northern Iowa (58)

Utah State (33)

Michigan (26)

Texas Tech (20)

University of San Diego (18)

South Florida (17)

Tennessee (16)

Arizona State (15)

Baylor (14)

Duke (13)

Arkansas (12)

Florida State (11)

Western Michigan (9)

Fairfield (8)

Cal Poly (8)

Northern Arizona (5)

Wisconsin-Milwaukee (4)

San Jose State (3)