Aug. 9, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. – For the second consecutive season, the Arizona volleyball team was picked to finish seventh by the coaches in the Preseason Pac-12 Poll, the league announced on Thursday.
The Wildcats, who finished last season seventh in the league standings, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year after posting a 19-13 overall record in 2011.
UCLA, the 2011 national champions, were picked to win the league with 10 first place votes and 120 points overall. Stanford picked up two first place votes and tallied 109 points to take second. USC, the reigning Pac-12 champions, were picked to finish in third with Oregon and Washington rounding out the top-five. California was picked sixth followed by the Wildcats, Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah, Washington State and Colorado.
Sophomore Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Ariz.) and junior Candace Nicholson (Long Beach, Calif.) lead an extremely young but talented Arizona squad, which features 10 newcomers including seven freshmen. The Wildcats do not feature a single senior on this year’s team. Kingdon was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team after leading the team in kills per set (3.44), while recording 248 digs, which were third most on the team. Meanwhile, Nicholson led the team with 406 digs (3.94 p/s). Nicholson is the only member of the 2012 squad that has spent two years in the program. Sophomore Rachel Rhoades (San Diego, Calif.) is the only other returning starter. Rhoades recorded 100 kills and finished second on the squad with 74 blocks in 2011.
The Wildcats will conduct two-a-days through August 18 as the team will close out the multiple sessions with the annual Red-Blue scrimmage at 2 p.m. Arizona’s 32nd season of volleyball will get underway at home with the Wildcat Classic on Aug. 24-25. Arizona will open the tournament against Evansville and Cal State Northridge on Aug. 24 before closing out the event against Utah Valley on Aug. 25.
Pac-12 teams have traditionally been among the best in the nation. In 2011, six teams were ranked in the top 25 in the nation all season, with five spending most of the year in the top five. In addition, seven teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, with UCLA and USC advancing to the national semifinals.
It will be a landmark year for the Conference, which is getting ready to launch the Pac-12 Networks in six days. Pac-12 volleyball teams will have unprecedented television exposure, with 82 games being televised on the Networks. In addition, two regular-season Pac-12 matches will be nationally televised on ESPNU. For a full schedule of televised Pac-12 matches, visit www.pac-12.org.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat volleyball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com and be sure to follow the team on Twitter @ArizonaVBall.
2012 Pac-12 Volleyball Coaches’ Poll
Team (1st place votes), Points
1. UCLA (10), 120
2. Stanford (2), 109
3. USC, 96
4. Oregon, 91
5. Washington, 83
6. California, 77
7. Arizona, 56
8. Arizona State, 43
9. Oregon State, 41
10. Utah, 39
11. Washington State, 22
12. Colorado, 15