WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: The Utah volleyball team was selected to repeat as Mountain West Conference champions in the 2009 Preseason Coaches Poll voted on by a panel including the nine conference head coaches and selected media.
In addition, junior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak was named to the Preseason All-MWC Team.
The Utes tallied 138 points in the poll. Utah won last season's championship with a 14-2 conference record, ending the league slate with 14 consecutive victories, en route to the second NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance in school history.
Colorado State was chosen second in the poll, collecting four first-place votes and 135 total points. New Mexico was 16 points ahead of BYU for third place, totaling 112 points and three first-place votes. The Cougars collected 96 points and a pair of first-place votes for fourth place in the poll. TCU (89 points) edged UNLV (87 points) by two points to claim fifth. The Rebels took sixth place and were followed by San Diego State (seventh, 53 points), Wyoming (eighth, 38 points) and Air Force (ninth, 17 points).
Bartkowiak, who earned All-MWC honors for the first time in her career in 2008, was one of the most efficient attackers in the league last season, finishing second in the MWC in hitting percentage at a .354 clip.
The Utes open the 2009 season against Arizona State on Friday, Aug. 28.
Also on the Preseason All-MWC Team: Kayla Walker, RS, BYU; Tessa Nelson, MB, CSU; Lauren Salisbury, MB, SDSU; Christy Hudson, RS, TCU; Jade Michaelsen, setter, New Mexico; Katelyn Blackwood, libero, TCU. Preseason Co-Players of the Year: Tessa Nelson, CSU; Jade Michaelsen, UNM.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The Utah women's basketball team has announced its 2009-10 schedule, highlighted by a strong non-conference schedule with several teams coming off postseason appearances. The schedule features six teams that participated in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, including Louisville, which finished as the national runner-up last season.
"This is an extremely competitive schedule," head coach Elaine Elliott said. "It will be a challenge for a young team, but it's a schedule that we are all excited to play."
In the non-conference schedule, Louisville, Minnesota, Stanford and South Dakota State were all NCAA participants while SMU competed in the WNIT. The Utes will play three teams from the Pac-10 Conference — Stanford, UCLA and Oregon.
The Mountain West Conference portion of the schedule begins on Jan. 9 at TCU. San Diego State and TCU both reached the NCAA Tournament from the MWC last season, while New Mexico made it to the quarterfinals of the WNIT.
Utah opens its season on Nov. 13 at Utah State, one of four in-state rivals it will face this year. The Utes play Weber State on Dec. 1 and Utah Valley on Jan. 6, both in Salt Lake City. Utah also faces BYU twice as part of the Deseret First Duel rivalry series, playing in Salt Lake City on Jan. 30 and closing the season on March 3 in Provo.
The year culminates with the MWC Tournament, which goes from March 9-13 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Six of Utah's games are currently slated for television. Games against UCLA, New Mexico, San Diego State and Wyoming will appear on the Mtn. network, with the Utes playing San Diego State and TCU on CBS College Sports. More games may be added as the networks nail down their broadcast schedule.
Utah is coming off a 23-10 season, winning the MWC Tournament and reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament.