Big West Conference newcomer Hawaii was a runaway pick Tuesday by the conference’s coaches to win the Big West volleyball title.
Meanwhile, Cal Poly, which will be under first-year head coach Sam Crosson, was picked for seventh in the 10-team conference. The Mustangs were the only team other than Hawaii to pick up a first-place vote.
It will be an uphill climb for Cal Poly this season as Jennifer Keddy, last season’s Big West player of the year, will likely redshirt the season after undergoing should surgery last week. Moreover, Kristina Graven, Cal Poly’s other top player last season, has transferred to St. Mary’s.
Hawaii is looking to re-establish itself as the dominant team in the Big West after playing in the conference from 1985-95. The Rainbow Wahine went 18-0 in their final season in the Big West.
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Last season, Hawaii advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 30th time and was a perfect 18-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. Its only regular-season losses were to UCLA and USC.
Long Beach State, the conference champ three of the past four seasons, was picked second, one spot ahead of Cal State Northridge. UC Santa Barbara and Pacific tied for fourth, followed, in order, by Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.