La Verne ranked fifth in Division III

The University of La Verne volleyball team starts the season ranked No. 5 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Traditional title contender Juniata is ranked first with reigning national champion Washington University-St. Louis at No. 2. Emory (Ga.) is third and Wittenberg fourth.

The only other SCIAC school mentioned is Cal Lutheran which checks in at No. 24.

Coach Don Flora returns four starters and 11 letter winners, including senior outside hitter Brianna Gonzales, an AVCA first-team All-America selection in 2007. Also providing La Verne firepower will be 2006 AVCA honorable mention All-American, outside hitter Crista Jones and all-conference athlete Karli Fowlkes, a middle blocker.