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DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference volleyball coaches have selected NM State to win the WAC regular-season crown in 2018. The coaches also voted on the preseason award winners and UT Rio Grande Valley senior outside hitter Ragni Steen Knudsen was the pick for WAC Preseason Player of the Year.
Reigning regular-season champion NM State received six of the first-place votes and 62 total points to earn the top spot in the poll. UT Rio Grande Valley finished in second place with 57 points and the other three first-place votes. Reigning WAC Tournament champion CSU Bakersfield was picked to finish third with 48 points, while Utah Valley was fourth with 42 points. Kansas City was selected in fifth place with 35 points, while Grand Canyon was sixth with 30 points. Seattle U was picked seventh with 23 points, while WAC newcomer California Baptist was selected eighth with 17 points. Chicago State rounded out the poll with 10 points.
NM State and UT Rio Grande Valley placed the most players on the preseason All-WAC team with three apiece, while CSU Bakersfield, Kansas City and Seattle U had two each. Joining Knudsen on the preseason team are teammates Alexandra Ecker and Barbara Silva, NM State's Briana Ainsworth, Tatyana Battle and Megan Hart, CSU Bakersfield's Briannah Mariner and Desiree Sukhov, Kansas City's Emma Dyer and Alicia Harrington, Seattle U's Shae Harris and Maja Stojanovic, Grand Canyon's Teagan DeFalco and Utah Valley's Kristen Allred.
The 2018 season begins next Friday, Aug. 24, with all nine teams in tournament action. The WAC Tournament will be held Nov. 22-24, at CSU Bakersfield's Icardo Center, and will include the top six eligible teams in the regular-season standings.
2018 Preseason Coaches' Poll
|Rank||Team (first-place votes)||Points|
|1||NM State (6)||62|
|2||UT Rio Grande Valley (3)||57|
2018 Preseason All-WAC Team
|Briana Ainsworth||Sr.||S||NM State|
|Kristen Allred||So.||OH||Utah Valley|
|Tatyana Battle||Sr.||OH||NM State|
|Teagan DeFalco||So.||OH||Grand Canyon|
|Emma Dyer||Gr.||M||Kansas City|
|Alexandra Ecker||Sr.||MB||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Alicia Harrington||Jr.||OH||Kansas City|
|Shae Harris||Sr.||S||Seattle U|
|Megan Hart||Jr.||MB||NM State|
|Ragni Steen Knudsen||Sr.||OH||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Briannah Mariner||Sr.||OH||CSU Bakersfield|
|Barbara Silva||Jr.||RS||UT Rio Grande Valley|
|Maja Stojanovic||Sr.||M||Seattle U|
|Desiree Sukhov||So.||OH||CSU Bakersfield|