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Volleyball Picked Eighth in Preseason Big Sky Coaches Poll

OGDEN, Utah – Coming off a seventh-place conference finish in 2011, the NAU volleyball team has been picked to finish eighth out of 11 teams in the newly expanded Big Sky by the conference coaches. Defending conference champion Northern Colorado was picked first and garnered nine of 11 first place votes in the preseason poll.

NAU received 33 points to place ahead of Southern Utah, Weber State, and Montana State. Three of the top-four regular season finishers from last season, Northern Colorado, Portland State, and Eastern Washington, were picked at the top of the conference table with newcomer North Dakota picked fourth and Montana selected fifth. Sacramento State, which finished third last season, was picked sixth in what would be the final qualifying spot for the Big Sky Championship, while Idaho State placed just ahead of Northern Arizona in seventh.

The Lumberjacks are looking to reach the conference tournament for the first time since 2007 and return four starters (plus libero) and eight letter winners from the 2011 squad that finished 15-10 overall and 6-10 in conference play. The team will be led by five seniors to go along with three returning sophomores and four newcomers with Choate's first NAU recruiting class serving as upperclassmen. The squad will play its entire nine-match non-conference slate on the road and open with five of its first six conference matches on the road, playing 14 of its first 15 matches of the year away from Flagstaff.

Prior to opening their season at the UNLV Invitational Aug. 24-25, the Lumberjacks will conduct an open Blue vs Gold scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday in Rolle Activity Center.

Big Sky Volleyball Coaches Poll

1. Northern Colorado - 99 (9)

2. Portland State - 88 (1)

3. Eastern Washington - 71

4. North Dakota - 70 (1)

5. Montana - 62

6. Sacramento State - 61

7. Idaho State - 48

8. Northern Arizona - 33

9. Southern Utah - 30

10. Weber State - 24

11. Montana State - 19

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