PASADENA — The University of La Verne volleyball team has been selected to finish third in the first annual Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) preseason poll.
The 2015 national champion and six-time defending SCIAC champion Cal Lutheran was the coaches' choice to win its seventh straigh league title, picking up seven first-place votes for a low total of 11 points. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, who shared the SCIAC crown with the Regals last year, came in second with 16 points and two first-place votes.
La Verne (33 points) and Whittier (38) round out the top four, followed by Pomona-Pitzer (42), Chapman (53), Occidental (62), Redlands (69) and Caltech (81).
The Leopards finished 20-8 overall with a 13-3 mark in the SCIAC and came up just one game shy of their first SCIAC championship since 2008. La Verne clinched a spot in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament but lost to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round and narrowly missed an at-large bid to the NCAA National Championship tournament.
La Verne will be anchored by two-time First Team All-SCIAC middle blocker Kelsi Robinson, who also garnered an Honorable Mention All-America honor in 2014. Robinson led the conference in total blocks (66) and blocks per set (1.16) last season and she was also one of the most efficient hitters for the Leopards, converting attacks at a .321 clip. Sophomore Kristen Sanchez, who averaged 4.23 digs per set last season, will play a big role on defense.
The Leopards begin the 2016 campaign on Sept. 2-3, hosting the annual Pacific Coast Classic featuring some of the top teams in the nation.
2016 SCIAC Volleyball Preseason Poll