Cal State volleyball team leaps to No. 1

The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team moved up to the top
spot in the AVCA Division II National poll this week after the two teams
ranked ahead of it in the preseason poll lost matches their first
weekend.

Being No. 1 can be both a blessing and a curse. It is a nice
accomplishment for a program that has been among the country’s elite the
last five years and it is good recognition for a city that isn’t often
put in a positive light in the media.

But there is also the pressure that comes with living up to those
expectations. Opponents will get that much more fired up when playing
the Coyotes. And they already will be facing the toughest competition in
the country when CCAA play starts this weekend. Cal State will host
Monterey Bay Friday and Sonoma State Saturday at Coussoulis. Those two
matches should be free passes. But there are formidable foes waiting in
the wings in long-time nemesis UC San Diego, Cal State Los Angeles,
Chico State and neighborhood foe Cal Poly Pomona, which always gives Cal
State a problem.

The higher the Coyotes finish in the rankings, the better their
chance at hosting the Pacific Region and possibly the NCAA Nationals.
The first regional ranking won’t come out until October and hosting
rights for that tournament traditionally go to the top team, no
questions asked.

There are other things considered when it comes time to select a
host for nationals however. That right will go to one of the eight
qualifiers. Should the Coyotes win the Pacific Region, they would be
attractive as a host site because of the quality of the arena, the
accessability in and out of the area from a transportation standpoint as
well as the organization the Cal State staff has shown when it has
hosted marquee events in the past.

A team from the West is also due to host. The NCAA tries to move
the event around so that each region has the opportunity every few
years. It was held in Pensacola, Fla. last year with Nebraska-Kearney
getting the nod the previous year.

The last time the event was held in the West was when the Coyotes
hosted in 2003. The last host from the West before that was Cal State
Bakersfield in 1997.

So let’s hope the Coyotes live up to that billing and have that
chance further down the road.