4 GNAC Teams Appear In AVCA Preseason Rankings
Nicole Blue of UAA (left) and Gabby Kepley of WWU each earned preseason all-conference recognition.
Nicole Blue of UAA (left) and Gabby Kepley of WWU each earned preseason all-conference recognition.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – No. 14 Alaska Anchorage and No. 15 Western Washington each cracked the top-25 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association/TARAFLEX preseason poll, released on Tuesday.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason favorite Central Washington as well as Seattle Pacific each received votes in the initial national rankings.

The reigning GNAC champion Seawolves earned 505 points in the first rankings of the season, after going 27-3 last year and 17-1 in conference play to claim the league title. The Seawolves checked in at fifth in the 2023 GNAC preseason coaches poll, after losing 2022 Ron Lenz National Player of the Year Eve Stephens. UAA gets its 2023 campaign underway on Friday at the Alaska/Hawaii Challenge in Fairbanks.

The Vikings finished just one game behind the Seawolves in 2022, with a record of 21-6 overall and 16-2 in conference play. WWU was second in the 2023 preseason coaches poll, as the Vikings once again figure to contend for a league title and postseason berth. WWU opens its 2023 slate with an Aug. 31 match against Regis at the Cal State San Bernardino Yotes Classic Showcase.

The Wildcats were the unanimous pick in the 2023 GNAC preseason coaches poll, receiving all 10 first-place votes. Returning GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Tia Andaya among four preseason all-conference selections, the Wildcats are poised to build off a 17-11 record and 11-7 conference mark in 2022. Central Washington earned 61 points in the AVCA preseason poll, appearing as the eighth team outside of the top-25. The Wildcats’ first match is on Aug. 31 against MSU Denver at the Yotes Classic Showcase.

Seattle Pacific gave the GNAC four representatives in the preseason rankings, earning three points after being picked third in the GNAC preseason coaches poll. The Falcons tied for third with the Wildcats in the 2022 standings, going 13-13 overall and 11-7 in league games. SPU takes on Lewis at the 2023 PLNU/CSUSM Challenge on Sept. 1 at 10 a.m.

Reigning Division II national champion West Texas A&M claimed 42 of 47 first place votes and sat atop the preseason rankings with 1,139 points. The first regular-season rankings are set to be released on Sept. 4, and will follow weekly throughout the duration of the 2023 campaign.