EUGENE – Three days away from its season opener, the University of Oregon volleyball team picked up its second top-20 preseason honor with its No. 18 slot in the Volleyball Magazine Preseason Poll.

UO was one of six Pac-12 teams spotted in the top 20 with No. 1 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 USC, No. 13 Washington and No. 17 California. Other teams in the top five included No. 2 Texas, No. 4 Penn State and No. 5 Nebraska.

The complete poll follows at the bottom of this article, and is also available at the Volleyball Magazine website by clicking here.

Last week, the Ducks were tabbed No. 20 in the AVCA Preseason Poll – its fourth top-20 preseason pick the last five years – an accomplishment the program had notched only twice before current head coach Jim Moore’s arrival (1985 - 15th / 1990 - 20th). The eighth-year mentor and his squad also picked up an AVCA No. 11 preseason nod in 2008, and No. 14 and No. 20 selections in 2009 and ’10, respectively.

The only missing year in that recent stretch – 2011 – saw Oregon upset then-four-time defending national champion Penn State two weeks later, and end its NCAA-record 94-match home win streak.

Overall during his tenure, Oregon has now been ranked top 25 for 75 AVCA editions (2011-14; ’10-13; ’09-16; ’08-16; ’07-13; ’06-2), including 40 in the top 15, and all 14 of the team’s ever top-10 honors.

Altogether, UO has 10 contests this season against preseason top-25 teams (AVCA/VBM), thanks to another pair of non-league road tests the next three weeks at No. 13/12 Kentucky and No. 24/RV Ohio State. Over the course of its 29-match regular season slate, it looks ahead to three more tilts vs. teams that received votes in Arizona (twice) and St. Mary's.

Among other related poll notes, UO was picked a best-ever fourth two weeks ago in the Pac-12 Coaches Preseason Poll behind UCLA (first), Stanford (second) and USC (third), and ahead of Washington (fifth), California (sixth) and Arizona (seventh).

Among the team's six returning starters and nine letterwinners, the Ducks welcome back a pair of All-Pac-12 picks in All-American and senior outside hitter Alaina Bergsma and junior setter Lauren Plum.

UO also returns a host of other starters in All-Pac-12 Freshman Team choice and outside hitter Liz Brenner, All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and junior middle blocker Ariana Williams, senior outside hitter Katherine Fischer, senior libero and A2 National Team member Haley Jacob and senior defensive specialist Kellie Kawasaki.

Oregon also welcomes the nation’s #14-ranked freshman class according to PrepVolleyball.com, and is composed of Italian product and middle blocker Clelia DeFelice, prep All-America outside hitter Martenne Bettendorf, Senior Ace middle blocker Canace Finley, Senior Ace 150 outside hitter Madison Magee and All-CIF libero Tatum Norton.

This weekend, the Ducks officially open their 45th season of action with three matches in the Sports Import D.C. Koehl Classic in Columbus, Ohio on August 25-26. UO first faces Toledo on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time, then on Saturday takes on Houston at 10:30 a.m. PT and No. 24 Ohio State at 4:30 p.m. PT.

The following weekend, plays single matches in the Baymont Invitational each day in Athens, Ohio vs. Western Carolina on Friday-Sunday, August 31-September 2 vs. Western Carolina (8/1, 1 p.m. PT), No. 13 Kentucky (9/1, 10 a.m. PT) and Ohio (9/2, 8 a.m. PT).

Live stats from each match, and more event information are available at the www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com and www.OhioBobcasts.com websites.

Next month, the Ducks kick off their 12-match home schedule with a pair of non-conference tilts vs. UC Santa Barbara (Wed., September 5) and St. Mary's (Mon., Sept. 10). Both teams sported top-55 RPI national ratings and impressive records last year - UC Santa Barbara (#53, 19-12) and St. Mary's (#55, 17-12).

The remainder of UO's home schedule - all league contests - includes last year's national champion (UCLA), two more NCAA second-round qualifiers (Stanford, Washington), and two other postseason first-round advancers (Arizona, California).

Fans are encouraged to get their season tickets now at the www.GoDucks.com website ticket link at the top of the page, and can also visit the Duck ticket office or call (1-800-WEB-FOOT) during normal weekday business hours.


2012 VOLLEYBALL MAGAZINE COACHES PRESEASON POLL
 
Rk. Team    Pts.    Prev.
1. UCLA (8)    190    1
2. Texas    187    4
3. Stanford (1)    171    15
4. Penn State (1)    170    9
5. Nebraska    166    12
6. USC    146    3
7. Hawaii    131    5
8. Purdue    130    11
9. Illinois    126    2
10. Iowa State    111    8
11. Pepperdine    91    7
12. Kentucky    75    13
13. Washington    70    17
14. Florida State    64    6
15. Minnesota    59    14
16. Tennessee    58    RV
17. California    55    19
18. Oregon    33    RV
19. San Diego    28    RV
20. Florida    20    10


Others receiving votes: Ohio State, Louisville, Kansas State, Northern Iowa, Colorado State, Michigan



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