Cougars Picked to Finish Fifth in MWC

The 2010 BYU Women's Volleyball Team. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A voting panel comprised of the nine Mountain West Conference head volleyball coaches and selected media chose defending league champion Colorado State as the favorite to win the 2010 MWC regular season title. The Rams collected 15 first-place votes and 134 total points. Utah was selected to finish second with 104 points, while TCU was picked third, totaling 99 points. New Mexico received 96 points for fourth place in the poll, while BYU (85 points, one first-place vote) and San Diego State (62 points) claimed fifth and sixth place, respectively, followed by Wyoming (seventh, 43 points), UNLV (eighth, 36 points) and Air Force (ninth, 16 points).

Colorado State’s Danielle Minch, the 2009 MWC Player of the Year, highlights the preseason all-Mountain West Conference team as she was tabbed the 2010 Preseason Player of the Year. Five institutions were represented on the 2010 preseason all-MWC squad, which also was chosen by the coaches and selected media.

The 2010 season will see 10 all-Mountain West Conference players returning, including Minch and 2009 Freshman of the Year Jodi Purdy (Wyoming). Last season, Minch led the league in kills per set in overall and Conference matches (3.80). She also ranked second in the MWC in kills (3.77) and points per set (4.16) in overall matches, and finished Conference play ranked third in points per set (4.16). Minch also tallied double-digit kills in 23 matches last season. Purdy finished the 2009 campaign ranked third in kills per set (3.43) and fourth in points per set (3.90) in overall matches. In league play, Purdy ranked fourth in kills per set (3.32) and fourth in points per set (3.71). Megan Plourde (R-So., MB) and Evan Sanders (Jr., S) will also return for Colorado State, while Taylor Hadfield (Sr., MB) and Jade Michaelsen (Sr., S) return to New Mexico’s squad. Plourde ranked fourth in the league in hitting percentage (.331) in overall matches last season, while finishing sixth in blocks per set (1.08), and Sanders was second in the MWC in assists per set (11.38) in all matches. Hadfield finished 2009 MWC play seventh in kills per set (2.98) and points per set (3.41), and ninth in hitting percentage (.303), while Michaelsen ranked third in assists per set (10.26) in overall matches. San Diego State’s Lauren Salisbury (Sr., MB), TCU’s Christy Hudson (Sr., RS/MB) and Megan Munce (Jr., S), and Utah’s Karolina Bartkowiak (Sr., Opp.) round out the all-Conference returnee list for 2010. Salisbury ranked second in hitting percentage (.353) in overall matches last season, while Hudson finished ninth in hitting efficiency (.297), and Munce led the Conference in service aces per set (0.42) and was fourth in assists per set (9.94). Bartkowiak was sixth in kills per set (3.04) and points per set (3.59) in overall contests in 2009.

The 2010 season is set to begin Friday, August 27, with all nine league teams in action. Conference play begins on Thursday, September 23, with San Diego State hosting New Mexico and Utah entertaining Wyoming.


2010 PRESEASON ALL-MWC TEAM

Player Cl. Pos. Team

Danielle Minch Sr. OH CSU

Jade Michaelsen Sr. S UNM

Lauren Salisbury Sr. MB SDSU

Karolina Bartkowiak Sr. OPP Utah

Jodi Purdy So. OH WYO

Setter: Evan Sanders Jr. CSU

Libero: Keisha Fisher Sr. Utah

Preseason Player of the Year:

Danielle Minch, Colorado State

2010 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES’ POLL

Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points

1. Colorado State (15) 134

2. Utah 104

3. TCU 99

4. New Mexico 96

5. BYU (1) 85

6. San Diego State 62

7. Wyoming 43

8. UNLV 36

9. Air Force 16