Volleyball selected third in WAC Preseason Poll

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham

Aug 20, 2013

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DENVER - The Western Athletic Conference volleyball coaches have selected Utah Valley to take third in its inaugural season of play in the conference. The WAC also named Wolverine senior setter Brookelyn Hall and sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham to its preseason all-conference team. 

"What the coaches have decided is great, however, what matters more to me is where we finish at the end of the year," said head coach Sam Atoa. "There have been a lot of changes in the WAC and some of the programs really don't know how to judge each other because we haven't had the opportunity to one another in the past. No matter where we end up, we have set some important goals for our program this year and we are shooting for a very successful season."

The Wolverines, who went 18-9 and won their second consecutive Great West Conference title last season, came in third in the poll with 44 points. New Mexico State was tabbed to win the conference as it received seven of the first-place votes, while Idaho was chosen to finish second by picking up the other two. The Aggies earned 62 total points, followed by Idaho with 58. Seattle U picked to finish fourth with 39 points, just ahead of Bakersfield in fifth with 38 and Kansas City in sixth with 35 points. Texas-Pan American, Grand Canyon and Chicago State rounded out the poll with 21, 17 and 10 points, respectively.

Hall and Stringham were named preseason all-conference after both earned first team all-conference honors in the Great West last year. Stringham also took home freshman of the year accolades last season after she dominated around the net. Besides leading the GWC in total blocks (148), block assists (136) and block per set average (1.45) in 2012, Stringham also set single-season school records in all three of those categories. The setter Hall finished second in the GWC in assists last year with 961 as well as second in assists per set average (9.42). Hall also led UVU in double-doubles a year ago with 13.   

"It's a great honor for both Brookelyn and Lauren to recognized by the WAC even though it's our inaugural year in the league," added Atoa. "It is going to be a challenge for them though. When you receive these types of honors you're going to get a target on your back. Despite that, we're expecting a lot from them and from the team."

Idaho junior middle blocker Alyssa Schultz was chosen as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year. The Vandals also placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with three, while Bakersfield, NM State and UVU had two apiece. Joining Schultz on the preseason team are teammates Katelyn Peterson and Taylor Wilkinson, CSUB's Debora Araujo and Fernanda Gonçalves, NM State's Lauren Loerch and Desiree Scott, Emma Hagedorn of UMKC, Mackenzie Phelps of GCU, and Martina Samadan of Seattle U.

The 2013 season begins the weekend of Aug. 30 with all nine teams in action. The 2013 WAC Volleyball Tournament, hosted by Grand Canyon, will be held Nov. 25-27, at GCU Arena in Phoenix, Ariz., and will include the top six eligible teams in the regular-season standings.

UVU will tune-up for the season with its lone exhibition game this Friday, at 6 p.m. when it holds its annual Green & White match. The Wolverines will then officially open their season at home on Aug. 30 by hosting the La Quinta Inn & Suites Invitational. Utah Valley will welcome Arizona State of the Pac-12 Conference to the PE Building for its first match of 2013. 

2013 Preseason Poll

Rank Team (first-place votes) Points
1 New Mexico State (7) 62
2 Idaho (2) 58
3 Utah Valley 44
4 Seattle U 39
5 Bakersfield 38
6 Kansas City 35
7 Texas-Pan American 21
8 Grand Canyon 17
9 Chicago State 10

2013 Preseason All-WAC Team

Player Yr. Pos. School
Debora Araujo Sr. OH Bakersfield
Fernanda Gonçalves Sr. S Bakersfield
Emma Hagedorn So. MH Kansas City
Brookelyn Hall Sr. S Utah Valley
Lauren Loerch Sr. OH New Mexico State
Katelyn Peterson So. OH Idaho
Mackenzie Phelps Jr. L Grand Canyon
Martina Samadan So. MB Seattle U 
Alyssa Schultz Jr. MB Idaho
Desiree Scott Sr. MH New Mexico State
Lauren Stringham So. MB Utah Valley
Taylor Wilkinson Sr. MB Idaho

Preseason Player of the Year: Alyssa Schultz, Idaho