(Editor's note: Montana State University media release)
BOZEMAN -- The Montana State volleyball team, coming off its best season in recent memory, was tabbed to finish fourth in the 2020 Big Sky Conference Preseason Coaches poll, released on Wednesday morning by the league office.
Montana State returns 12 players from a team that posted a 15-14 overall mark and a 10-8 Big Sky slate last fall. The 15 victories were its most since the 2012 campaign, while its 10 league wins was its best output since 2004. In addition, the Bobcats made its second straight Big Sky Conference Tournament appearance and won its first tournament match- knocking off Sacramento State- since the 2005 season.
“I think most coaches in the country will tell you that preseason polls are a fun process, but little to no weight is given to them,” said MSU head coach Daniel Jones, who enters his fourth season at the helm of the Bobcat program. “Being picked fourth is due in large part to what we achieved last year as a team. This year is a new year, a new team. We need to go out and earn that respect again."
“As a staff we have a great sense of belief in this year’s team,” Jones added. “Personally, I know that we are made for this season no matter what it looks like, we are ready to go. I can’t wait to roll the balls out and prove what we are capable of.”
Northern Colorado has been picked as the unanimous favorite by the Big Sky volleyball coaches to win the conference in 2020. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their team.
UNC received 10 first-place votes for a total of 100 points, the most a team can receive in the poll.
The Bears are coming off a 2019 campaign where they were the regular-season champions after going 19-1 in conference play. UNC followed its regular-season performance up with a Big Sky Tournament title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Tied at second in the preseason poll are Weber State and Northern Arizona with 86 points each.
Montana State and Sacramento State were picked to finish fourth and fifth in the poll as five points separated the two teams. The Bobcats received 69 points while the Hornets received 64.
Idaho finished in sixth place with 50 points, and Portland State and Montana both finished tied for seventh with 40 points apiece.
Southern Utah (38 points) was picked to finish ninth with Idaho State (19 points) picked 10th, and Eastern Washington (13 points) picked 11th to round out the remaining spots in the preseason poll.
2020 Preseason Big Sky Conference Volleyball Poll
1. Northern Colorado (10) 100
T2. Northern Arizona (1) 86
T2. Weber State 86
4. Montana State 69
5. Sacramento State 64
6. Idaho 50
T7. Portland State 40
T7. Montana 40
9. Southern Utah 38
10. Idaho State 19
11. Eastern Washington 13