Aug. 16, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of New Mexico volleyball team was picked to finish second this season in the 2011 Mountain West Preseason Volleyball Poll.
Seniors Allison Buck and Ashley Rhoades were named to the MW Preseason Team. Rhoades was one of the top blockers in the league last season with 1.08 per set overall (sixth) and 1.13 in Conference-only play. Buck was tops in digs per set (4.22) in Conference-only action and third in overall play (4.00) in 2010, earning her way to an All-MW Libero selection.
"I am very happy for Ashley (Rhoades) and Allison (Buck) receiving the honors they did," head Lobo volleyball coach Jeff Nelson said.
The voting panel comprised of the eight Mountain West head volleyball coaches chose defending league champion Colorado State as the favorite to win the 2011 MW regular season title. The Rams collected five first-place votes and 60 total points. UNM, the 2010 runner-up, was selected to finish second with 56 points and claimed the three remaining first-place votes. San Diego State received 51 points for third place in the poll, while TCU earned 41 points for fourth place. Wyoming (27 points) and newcomer Boise State (25 points) claimed fifth and sixth place, respectively, followed by UNLV (seventh, 20 points) and Air Force (eighth, 8 points).
UNM made this year's vote a close one, finishing right just a shade behind CSU for the top spot. If the pre-season vote is any indication, the Lobos are continuing to close the gap on CSU's dominance of the MW.
"I think this year's conference race will be very exciting," Nelson said. "We feel we have a great shot this season at challenging for a championship. CSU, SDSU and TCU should all be very good, and Boise State is a great addition with great coaches. The rest of the conference has solid depth as well."
All eight teams will meet at the Johnson Center in Albuquerque, N.M., on Nov. 18-20 for the 2011 Mountain West Championship Tournament.
The Lobos will host their annual Alumni match on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Johnson Center. Regular season action begins on Friday, Aug. 26 against South Florida at 7:30 p.m. in UNM's first match of the MCM Elegante Lobo Classic. UNM will host the No. 5 team in the nation, Nebraska, on Aug. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Nebraska is a perennial powerhouse in the NCAA. The Cornhuskers were the 2006 national champions and are a pre-season top-five team in the nation heading into the MCM Elegante Tournament.
To purchase tickets to the Lobos' season opening tournament, click the TICKETS button on GoLobos.com or call the Lobo Ticket Office at (505) 925-LOBO (5626). Admission to the Alumni match is free to the public.
2011 PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES' POLL
Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Colorado State (5) 60
2. New Mexico (3) 56
3. San Diego State 51
4. TCU 41
5. Wyoming 27
6. Boise State 25
7. UNLV 20
8. Air Force 8
2011 PRESEASON ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST TEAM
Player Cl. Pos. Team
Megan Plourde Jr. MB Colorado State
Ashley Rhoades Sr. MB New Mexico
Andrea Hannasch Jr. MB San Diego State
Kristen Hester Sr. MB TCU
Jodi Purdy Jr. OH Wyoming
Setter: Megan Munce Jr (RS) S TCU
Libero: Allison Buck Sr. L New Mexico
Preseason Player of the Year: Megan Plourde, Colorado State