As expcted, the University of Hawai'i has been tabbed in a poll of league coaches as the preseason pick to win the Western Athletic Conference volleyball championship this year.
The Rainbow Wahine grabbed eight of the nine first-place votes en route to 64 total points. Nevada, which garnered the other first-place vote, finished with 57 points.
The three new schools in the WAC - Idaho (43 points), New Mexico State (39) and Utah State (33) - finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. Boise State (31) was sixth followed by San Jose State (28), Fresno State (18) and Louisiana Tech (9).
Hawai'i was 30-3 a year ago, and won its ninth straight regular-season crown with a 13-0 record. Hawai'i also won its fifth straight WAC postseason tournament title. Hawai'i reached the regional semifinals before losing in five games to Wisconsin.
Nevada was 10-3 last season and 21-10 overall. Salaia Salave'a, Tristin Johnson and Karly Sipherd are the Pack's top returnees.
TWIGGS IN HALL OF FAME
Nevada track and field coach Shantel Twiggs is one of five former Northern Iowa athletes that will be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in October.
Twiggs was an all-conference sprinter at Northern Iowa from 1990-94. She was honored by the Missouri Valley Conference six times. She was an All-American her senior year, placing sixth in the 200 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Also, she led off the 400-meter relay team at the 1995 Pan-Am games and won gold and bronze medals at the 1994 Olympic Festival in the 400-meter relay and 200.
Twiggs came to Nevada from Nothern Illinois where she worked with current Nevada athletic director Cary Groth.
NEVADA BASEBALL UPDATE
Jacob Butler is off to a nice start with the Pulaski Blue Jays of the Appalachian League. Butler, who played outfield for Gary Powers the last four years, is hitting .291 with four homers and 16 RBI.
Another recent signee, first baseman Ben Mummy, is off to a .243 start with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. Mummy has seven RBI, but has yet to hit his first professional homer.
Brett Hayes, who was drafted in the second round by Florida, is off to an extremely slow start offensively. In seven games, Hayes is hitting .125 with no homers and two RBI.
Kevin Kouzmanoff, who played third base for one season at Nevada, is having a sensational year with the Kinston Indians of the Carolina League. He is hitting .346 wth nine homers and 46 RBI.
Chris Gimenez is showing good power numbers for the Lake County Captains, a Cleveland Indians Single-A team. He has 10 homers and 47 RBI, but has a whopping 70 strikeouts in 280 at-bats.
NICE HOOP SCHEDULE
The University of Idaho just released its men's basketball schedule for the 2005-06 season.
Idaho opens the season with road games at Gonzaga, Washington and Washington State. Talk about throwing yourself into the lion's den. The Vandals' home schedule is a little more tame, including Eastern Washington and Portland State of the Big Sky Conference.
While we're on the subject of men's basketball, Nevada has yet to release its schedule for the upcoming season. The Pack still have three dates their trying o fill.
Whether coach Mark Fox likes it or not, he may have to do a 2 for 1 to lure teams to Lawlor. Fox hates 2 for 1s and rightfully so. However, a 2 for 1 against a Pac-10 school wouldn't be that bad, because the travel situation would be much easier than going to Kansas.
Nevada's road schedule is brutal with games at UNLV, UCLA, Vermont, UOP and Kansas. The home schedule, as it stands right now, includes games against Sac State, UC Davis, Louisiana-Lafayette and a yet-to-be-named opponent in the annual Bracket Buster.
TRIP DOWN UNDER
The Utah State women's basketball team took an 11-day trip to Australia, facing some of Australia's junior national teams.
Raegan Pebley called the trip a "tremendous experience." The Aggies are coming off a 5-22 season as they enter their first year in the WAC.
FOOTBALL CRAM SESSION
On Aug. 22, ESPNU has scheduled a WAC preview cram session. Five games from last season plus a Boise State practice will be aired. The Nevada-Louisiana Tech game will be shown at midnight, though ESPN officials say that time could be changed.
Darrell Moody can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling 881-1281