Coaches' Poll Picks Bearcats Second Behind PLU

SALEM—The Willamette University volleyball team was voted second behind Pacific Lutheran University in the annual 2004 Northwest Conference coaches pre-season poll.

Gathering four of the nine possible first place votes, PLU (21-5 overall and 13-3 in the NWC last season), returns two All-NWC middle and outside hitters to take the top spot in the poll.

The Bearcats finished with an overall record of 18-8 and 10-6 in the NWC, giving them three first place votes for the 2004 season. Willamette features returning third team All-American outside hitter Kristen Halleck, along with setter Jodi Zaffino and outside hitter Lauren Thompson, to lead coach Tricia Wright’s squad.

The University of Puget Sound was selected third in the poll, followed by Linfield (last year’s conference champion), Whitman and Whitworth (tied for fifth), George Fox, Pacific, and Lewis and Clark.

The Bearcats play their first match Friday, September 3 at the Willamette Invitational at 2:30 vs. UPS and 7:30 vs. Claremont-Mudd Scripps College.