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College Volleyball

UCSB Volleyball Team Has Experience, Top-25 Recruiting Class

The UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball team opened practice for the 2016 campaign on Tuesday with a roster that includes nine returning players and a recruiting class that was ranked 24th in the country.

The Gauchos were picked sixth in the Big West Preseason Coaches' Poll. Defending champion Hawaii was the unanimous No. 1 pick, receiving first-place votes from all nine coaches. Long Beach State was picked second and Cal Poly third.

Among the top returners for the Gauchos is senior middle blocker Phoebe Grunt who is coming of an All-Big West season after finishing third in the conference with a .335 hitting percentage. She was also a force on defense with a team-high 98 blocks, ranking third in the Big West.

The Gauchos are also returning two all-conference players in outside hitter Chanel Hoffman and defensive specialist Emilia Petrachi.

Along with the veterans, the Gauchos welcome PrepVolleyball.com's 24th ranked recruiting class, the team's fourth ever top-30 selection. UCSB will also be joined by setter Hannah Juley, who transferred from Wisconsin after redshirting her first season. 

The Gauchos will officially open their 2016 schedule on Friday, August 26 at the UNLV Invitational. Then one week later, the team will make its home debut in the Thunderdome for its annual tournament, which will feature three top 50 RPI teams from a year ago, including Mountain West champion Colorado State. UCSB will open the weekend with CSU Bakersfield and Baylor on Friday and will later play the Rams on Saturday before closing the tournament with Pittsburgh on Sunday. 

2016 Big West Women’s Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Hawai’i (9) -  81
2. Long Beach State -  68
3. Cal Poly - 66
4. UC Irvine - 47
5. UC Davis - 44
6. UC Santa Barbara - 39
7. CSUN - 29
8. UC Riverside - 20
9. Cal State Fullerton - 11

( ) Denotes first place votes 

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