Head coach Beth Launiere's spikers are ranked No. 24 in the preseason coaches poll.
Aug. 9, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah volleyball team heads into the 2006 season ranked No. 24 in the CSTV/AVCA Preseason Coaches Poll released earlier this week.
The Utes are the highest ranked Mountain West Conference team, checking in ahead of league rivals Brigham Young and Colorado State, both of which are receiving votes.
Last year, Utah finished the regular season 23-9 and went 11-5 in league play. The Utes return five starters and eight letterwinners from that team which made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to CSU and BYU, Utah will face two other teams that enter the season ranked in the preseason poll. The Utes have the heady task of playing No. 5-ranked Florida (at Florida on Aug. 26) and No. 14 USC (at Los Angeles on Sept. 2). The preseason No. 1 is Nebraska which received 14 first-place votes while defending champion Washington came in at No. 3 with 16 first-place nods.
The No. 24 ranking marks the 61st time in school history that the volleyball team has been ranked. Last year, they finished the season tied at No. 25. The highest ranking ever was back on Sept. 9, 2002, when the Utes climbed to the No. 8 spot.
The Utes' season begins on Friday, Aug. 25, when they play Arkansas State at the Aquafina Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. The first home match is on Sept. 8-9 when Utah hosts Missouri State, Temple and Utah State in the Liberty Bank Classic.