Aug. 18, 2014
AVCA 2014 Preseason Top 25 Poll
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
Western Washington University is ranked No.12 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division II Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll released Monday,
The Vikings lost just one starter from last year's 23-4 team that won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship and reached the first round of the NCAA DII West Regional.
Defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul (35-3) is ranked No.1 with 1,186 points. Tampa (31-2) is No.2 at 1,151 and Minnesota Duluth (33-3) No.3 at 1,086.
Four West Region teams, besides WWU, in the Top 25 are defending West Regional champion BYU-Hawaii No.4, Cal State San Bernardino No.8, UC San Diego No.11 and Sonoma State No.16.
In 2013, WWU won its second straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship and made its fifth NCAA II national tournament appearance in the last eight years.
The Vikings return 10 letter winners, including two All-Americans, for coach Diane Flick (15th year, 296-78), the school's record holder in career victories and winning percentage (.791).
The two All-Americans back are senior libero Samantha Hutchinson (University Place/Curtis) and senior middle blocker Kayla Erickson (Gig Harbor/Peninsula).
Hutchinson was a first-team AVCA All-American last year and is a two-time GNAC Defensive Player of the Year. Her 6.91 digs per set last season were second in NCAA Division II, and her 1,671 career digs are third in school history, just 37 short of second place Allison Gotz.
Erickson, the 2013 GNAC Player of the Year, was a second-team Daktronics All-American and earned AVCA honorable mention. She averaged 3.65 kills and 1.18 blocks, notching a .380 attack percentage. Erickson enters the season with a career attack percentage of .360, the best in school history.
WWU opens its season on Sept. 4-6 at the Central Washington Wildcat Invitational, meeting three nationally top 25 teams in Sonoma State, UC San Diego and Cal State San Bernardino.
The Vikings' home opener is Sept. 9 versus Hawaii Pacific at Squalicum High School.