BERKELEY – The Cal volleyball team has been picked to finish in a tie for fifth place in the Pac-12 Preseason Poll announced Wednesday.
The Bears received 70 points in the voting by the conference’s 12 head coaches, tied with Oregon for fifth. It’s the highest Cal has been picked in the poll since 2011.
Stanford was selected to win the Pac-12 championship and received five first-place votes (114 overall). USC was right behind with 113 points and five first-place votes. Washington, the defending Pac-12 champion that went to the NCAA Final Four last season, was selected third and received the other two first-place votes. Arizona State was chosen to finish fourth.
The Bears return three starters and a libero from last year’s team that finished in a tie for fifth place in the conference standings and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Senior opposite hitter Christina Higgins was an AVCA Second Team All-American last season and Wednesday was named to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Team. Sophomore libero Maddy Kerr was selected to the 2013 Pac-12 All-Freshman team.
The 2014 Bears welcome in the No. 9 recruiting class in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com. Leading the way is Under Armour First Team All-American Ashten Smith-Gooden, who was the No. 5 Senior Ace by PrepVolleyball.com.
Cal was picked to finish in seventh place in the 2013 Pac-12 Preseason Poll and sixth in 2012.
PRESEASON PAC-12 COACHES POLL
(First place votes in paranthases)
1. Stanforrd (5) 114
2. USC (5) 113
3. Washington (2) 106
4. Arizona State 73
5t. Cal 70
5t. Oregon 70
7. Colorado 62
8. UCLA 58
9. Arizona 51
10. Utah 39
11. Washington State 25
12. Oregon State 11