Outside hitter Shelly Sommerfeldt leads the Utes back into the 2005 season.
Aug. 8, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah volleyball begins another season mentioned among the top programs in the nation. The Utes are listed once again on the CSTV/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll.
The Utes are receiving votes as they enter the 2005 campaign. They garnered 77 ballots, the fourth most among teams receiving votes.
Utah returns nine letterwinners from the 2004 squad that went 24-7 and made its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Among the returnees is all-conference pick Shelly Sommerfeldt and the Mountain West Conference Libero of the Year Connie Dangerfield.
Utah has been ranked in the poll 59 times in the last five season, its highest being No. 8 back in 2002. Last year, the Utes climbed to as high as No. 14 and finished the campaign receiving votes.
Only two other MWC programs garnered recognition in the preseason poll. Colorado State got the highest nod, checking in at No. 22. Arch-rival Brigham Young is also receiving votes. The Cougars were mentioned on 33 ballots.
Utah will play five teams mentioned in the preseason poll in 2005. Its highest-ranked foe will be No. 9 Tennessee at a preseason tournament in Columbia, Mo. The Utes will also play No. 21 Missouri and No. 22 Colorado State. Also on the docket are Santa Clara and BYU, both are receiving votes.
Santa Clara comes to town on Sept. 16 and 17. Conference rivals CSU (Nov. 12) and BYU (Nov. 4) are also on Utah's home docket.
Nebraska is the preseason favorite, topping the poll with 35 first-place votes. The Huskers were No. 5 last year. Rounding out the preseason top-five is Washington at No. 2, defending national champion Stanford at No. 3, Hawaii at No. 4 and Penn State and No. 5.
Below is the complete top 25:
Rank School (First-Place Votes) 1 Nebraska (35) 2 Washington (15) 3 Stanford (8) 4 Hawai'i (1) 5 Penn State (1) 6 Minnesota 7 Southern California 8 Florida 9 Tennessee 10 Wisconsin 11 Texas 12 Ohio State 13 UCLA 14 Louisville 15 UC Santa Barbara 16 Texas A&M 17 Arizona 18 San Diego 19 California 20 Georgia Tech 21 Missouri 22 Colorado State 23 Saint Mary's (Calif.) 24 Long Beach State 25 Pepperdine
Others receiving points and listed on two or more ballots: Kansas State 123, Notre Dame 118, Santa Clara 85, Utah 77, Purdue 57, Ohio 51, Illinois 44, Wichita State 41, Kansas 40, Nevada 35, Brigham Young 33, Florida A&M 23, Colorado 22, Duke 14, Loyola Marymount 9, Rice 9, Pacific 5.