The University of La Verne volleyball team is ranked #3 overall in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Preseason Top 25 Poll, released Aug. 19.
The Leopards, which finished 27-3 last season en route to an appearance in the national championship match, garnered a total of 550 points along with two first-place votes. Defending national champion Emory University topped the poll with 595 points and 20 out of a possible 24 first-place votes, followed by Juniata College with 555 points and one first-place vote.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh (521) and Washington-St. Louis (495) round out the fourth and fifth spots in the poll, respectively.
First-year head coach Marlon Sano welcomes five returning starters plus the libero to the lineup. Among that group is senior middle blocker Crista Jones, who earned AVCA First Team All-America honors a year ago. Also returning are the trio of junior opposite Anna Calmer, senior middle blocker Ashley Morgado and senior setter Yesenia Lopez. Each earned All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) accolades in 2008.
La Verne will battle seven teams ranked among the Top 15 in the poll, including matches against #2 Juniata and #5 Washington-St. Louis at the annual Teri Clemens Invitational in St. Louis, MO.
The Leopards will hold their annual Alumni match on Sept. 1 at Frantz Athletic Court before opening the regular season at the Pacific Coast Classic Tournament Sept. 4-5 in Claremont.