August 20, 2012

Lutes Picked to Take Over the Top of NWC Volleyball Standings

2012 NWC Volleyball Coaches' Pre-Season Poll:

2011 records

School

(1st)

Pts.

All

NWC

1. Pacific Lutheran (Wash.)

(5)

65

21-6

13-3

2. Whitworth (Wash.)

(2)

54

19-7

14-2

3. Puget Sound (Wash.)

(1)

50

18-6

10-6

4. Lewis & Clark (Ore.)

(1)

44

13-13

9-7

5. Linfield (Ore.)

 

35

11-14

6-10

6. George Fox (Ore.)

 

30

10-15

5-11

7. Pacific (Ore.)

 

24

13-12

7-9

8. Willamette (Ore.)

 

21

8-17

5-11

9. Whitman (Wash.)

 

10

4-18

3-13

(First-place votes in parenthesis. Points awarded on 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.  Coaches cannot vote for their own team)

Coming off of the sixth 21-victory season in the past seven years, the Pacific Lutheran volleyball team has been picked to be NWC champions, according to the 2012 poll of league head coaches.

The Lutes received five out of nine first place votes and 65 total points in the poll.  Sophomore setter Samantha North, a 2011 First Team All-NWC selection, returns to lead Pacific Lutheran.  Bethany Huston (MB) and Blair Bjorkman (Lib), who both received honorable mention recognition, will join her on the quest to return to the NCAA postseason tournament after the Lutes lost in the first round a season ago. 

Whitworth (54 points) edged out Puget Sound (50 points) for second place.  The Pirates, who had two first place votes, fell in five sets at the NCAA first round last season.  They welcome back 2011 Coach of the Year Steve Rupe but lose Player of the Year Kaimi Rocha.  The Loggers, who received one first place vote, will look to junior outside hitter Jackie Harvey to lead the way.  She was a Second Team All-NWC selection in 2011.

Lewis & Clark picked up the final first place vote to finish with a total of 44 points.  The Pioneers will look to senior setter Leia Matsunaga, who led the team in assists, for leadership.

Linfield and George Fox were fifth and sixth with 35 points and 30 points, respectively.  The Wildcats lost First Team All-NWC Samantha Lau, but welcome back sophomore outside hitter Kailana Ritte-Camara.  The Bruins will have plenty of experience as they return most of their 2011 roster, after losing only two seniors to graduation.  

Pacific is seventh in the poll with 24 points.  Second Team All-NWC senior Jade Thompson will return to anchor the Boxers defensively.  Pacific will be playing under first year head coach Kip Yoshimura.

Willamette received 21 points to put them in eighth place.  The Bearcats attack will be lead by their two honorable mention All-NWC middle hitters, Madisyn Leenstra and Shannon Waltz.

Whitman is ninth in the poll with 10 points.  Junior Jillian Davis (OH) earned Second Team All-NWC last season.

The 2012 season will get underway on August 31st.

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