SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team, armed with returning All-American Stacey Schmidt, was chosen to finish third in the annual Big West coaches preseason poll released on Thursday.
It is the second consecutive year that the Gauchos have been picked to finish third. Last year UCSB finished with a 16-13 overall mark and a 10-6 record in Big West play.
Along with Schmidt, UCSB returns seniors Lily Lopez and Chelsey Lowe along with All-Big West Freshman Team selection Kara Sherrard. The team also welcomes back sophomore Leah Sully, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.
Long Beach State, whom UCSB opens conference play against on Sept. 23, was chosen to win the Big West crown in the vote amongst conference coaches while Cal Poly was chosen second.
UCSB opens its season on August 26 in the BYU Nike Invitational Tournament. The Gauchos' first home game is Sept. 30 vs. Pacific.
2011 Big West Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Long Beach State (7) 78
2. Cal Poly (2) 72
3. UC Santa Barbara 53
4. Cal State Fullerton 52
5. Pacific 51
6. UC Davis 38
7. UC Irvine 30
8. Cal State Northridge 20
9. UC Riverside 11
( ) Denotes first place votes