PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland State volleyball team opened its fall camp Monday with a pair of practices at the Peter W. Stott Center. It was the first step in the Vikings’ pursuit of getting back to the top of the Big Sky Conference with a roster full of fresh faces.
“Things went really well on our first day,” ninth-year Head Coach Michael Seemann said. “We are taking it very slowly. Half of what the first day is is learning how to learn; using the same language and understanding what we’re looking for when we give verbal feedback. We had everyone’s best and I am very pleased with the athletic ability in the gym.”
The Vikings return just four letterwinners from a year ago while they add nine newcomers, seven true freshmen, to the roster.
Setter Erin Clark and middle blocker Sarah Liva saw significant playing time last season starting 22 and 29 matches respectively. Clark will enter camp in a competition for the staring setter position with sophomore transfer Kylie Copple, who transferred to PSU last spring.
The biggest question mark going into camp will be how quickly Seemann and his staff will be able to get the seven freshmen up to speed and ready to start the season. The Vikings have an entirely new outside hitter rotation. Junior transfer Pati Anae, freshmen Sarah Brennan, Jenna Mullen, and Eva Linden will all be vying for playing time.
“We don’t have a lot of quiet, shy, people,” Seemann added. “They’ve been very open and that’s something we value a lot, their connection on the court. We’re already making progress even after one day.”
The Vikings will take to the court on Saturday, Aug. 22 for their annual Alumnae Match at 5 p.m. at the Stott Center. They open the season on the road at the Northwest Challenge hosted by Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., on Aug. 28 against Boise State.
Big Sky Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll
The Vikings were selected to finish sixth in the Big Sky Conference this season in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll. Idaho State, the defending regular season champions, narrowly edged Northern Arizona for the top spot. The Bengals received 108 total points with four first-place votes while the Lumberjacks earned 106 points and three-first place votes.
North Dakota came in third with 101 points and three first-place votes. Northern Colorado matched UND with 101 points but picked up the fourth spot with a pair of top-place votes. The Bears rolled through the Big Sky Tournament without dropping a set to win their fourth title in the last six years.
Idaho came in just above the Vikings in fifth with 84 votes. Portland State picked up 65 votes for sixth with Montana (53), Eastern Washington (52), Southern Utah (34), Sacramento State (30), Weber State (30), and Montana State (28) rounding out the poll.
|1||Idaho State||108 (4)|
|2||Northern Arizona||106 (3)|
|3||North Dakota||101 (3)|
|4||Northern Colorado||101 (2)|