07 Aug

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Texas Tops Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Poll

 

The Longhorns have been chosen at the top of the preseason poll for the past three seasons.

The Longhorns have been chosen at the top of the preseason poll for the past three seasons.

IRVING, Texas -- Defending national champion Texas was unanimously selected as the 2013 preseason favorite to win the Big 12 Conference volleyball title, the league office announced Wednesday. The Longhorns have been chosen at the top of the preseason poll for the past three seasons and six times overall (1996, 2008, ‘09, ‘11-’13).

The 2013 preseason poll was selected by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own team.

Texas recorded 64 points overall, while Iowa State earned the No. 2 spot (55 points) for the second straight season. The Kansas Jayhawks recorded their highest preseason ranking in Big 12 history, checking in at third with 51 points. KU’s previous top preseason spot was a No. 5 ranking in 2005.

K-State placed fourth, while Oklahoma sits in fifth. Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia round out the sixth through ninth place spots, with the Bears chosen to finish sixth. TCU and TTU tied for the seventh place ranking.

The Longhorns, who compiled a 29-4 overall mark last season, return AVCA All-America selections Haley Eckerman and Bailey Webster as well as senior setter Hannah Allison. Khat Bell, who tallied a .385 hitting percentage last season, and Molly McCage, who started 26 of the Longhorns’ 33 matches as a freshman, also return to the UT lineup. In 2012, Texas finished the season winning 23 of its final 24 matches, recorded 22 sweeps and hit .438 in the national championship match over Oregon to claim its second national title in program history. The Longhorns also posted an undefeated mark in league play at home last season en route to their sixth Big 12 title. UT enters the 2013 season having won 40 consecutive league matches at home. Their last league loss in Austin came on Oct. 29, 2008, to Oklahoma.

The season starts on Friday, Aug. 30, with conference play beginning on Wednesday, September 25.

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.