Three other Region IX teams also ranked
The Northwest College women's volleyball team will begin the year ranked No. 25 nationally after the NJCAA released its pre-season Division I volleyball poll. The Trappers are coming off a 27-10 season a year ago that culminated in a Region IX North title and an appearance at the national championships.
Northwest College head coach Flavia Siqueira returns eight sophomores from her 2009 team that finished with a 1-2 record at the national tournament.
Despite Northwest's returning core of players and success in the 2009 season, the nation's pollsters predict a challenge in the Trappers' road to a title defense. Longtime Region IX North powerhouse Casper College (32-10 in ‘09) opens the year ranked No. 18. Laramie County (28-9) begins its fall calendar holding the No. 21 ranking in the nation.
Perennial national title contender Western Nebraska (42-4), which plays in the southern division of Region IX, is No. 5 to open the year.
The College of Southern Idaho (32-6) holds the No. 1 ranking to begin college volleyball season. They'll be followed by Missouri State-West Plains (27-9), Salt Lake (29-9), Miami-Dade (32-5) and Western Nebraska. Rounding out the top 10 are Iowa Western (42-6), Blinn (29-4), San Jacinto-Central (32-9), Hillsborough (30-10 and Temple (23-22).
Northwest's lone national tournament victory came against Temple last season.
The next 10 starts with North Idaho (28-5) at No. 11, followed by Frank Phillips (29-13), Eastern Arizona (21-2), Pratt (19-14) and Seminole State (26-15). Nos. 16-20 show Panola (28-9), Seward County (26-11), Casper, Wallace State-Hanceville (34-6) and Florida State-Jacksonville (32-6). The last five spots in the poll are held by Laramie County, Spartanburg Methodist (10-19), Midland (23-14), Yavapai (26-15) and Northwest.
Also receiving votes in the first poll of 2010 were Barton (22-12), Lee (17-13) and Palm Beach State (26-12).
The Northwest College Trappers open the 2010 volleyball season on a challenging note. Northwest College travels to Twin Falls, Idaho, on Aug. 27-28 to participate in the College of Southern Idaho tournament. Southern Idaho and Salt Lake are among the teams slated to appear in that tournament field.