EDMONTON – The Winnipeg Wesmen men's volleyball team has been pegged by Canada West as a top-five team in the toughest conference in Canada.
The Wesmen were placed fifth in the annual pre-season coaches poll released by Canada West on Tuesday, slotting behind Trinity Western, Brandon, Alberta and defending national champion UBC. The Wesmen, who lost five players to graduation, finished fifth in the conference regular season in 2017-18 with a 15-9 record and advanced to the Canada West final four.
The Wesmen women's team was ranked 13th in its coaches poll after finishing 1-23 in 2017-18. The Wesmen return all but one player from a season ago and look to improve on that campaign with a young roster that is nevertheless a year older.
The Alberta Pandas and Trinity Western Spartans are the teams to beat, according to the conference polls.
Alberta topped the annual pre-season coaches poll on the women's side with 130 points, while the defending CW champion Spartans were the men's coaches' pick with 117 points.
- Alberta topped the women's poll with 130 points, garnering five first-place votes, while TWU earned first in the men's poll with 117 points and seven first-place nods
- Four teams cracked the 100-point mark in the women's poll, as Alberta was joined by Calgary (129 pts.), UBC (127 pts.), and TWU (117 pts.)
- In the men's poll, TWU was joined by Brandon (107 pts.) and Alberta (105 pts.) as the conference's top picks
- The 2018-19 CW regular season opens Friday, October 19
In the women's poll, it was a tight battle for top spot, as Alberta edged out defending conference champion Calgary (129 pts.) by just a single point for first, as the Dinos earned four first-place votes. Also earning a quartet of top votes were the UBC Thunderbirds, who came in third with 127 points.
The trio were joined by Trinity Western in the century club, as the Spartans finished fourth in the women's poll with 117 points. After the lead group, there was a significant drop in point totals, as the next closest team was UBCO, which came in fifth with 87 points.
While just a single point separated the Pandas and Dinos in the women's poll, there was more separation in the men's poll, as the defending conference champs from TWU earned a 10-point cushion over second-place Brandon (107 pts.), who just edged out Alberta (105 pts.).
A complete look at the poll results can be found below, while full previews of the conference's 13 women's teams and 12 men's teams will be available Wednesday on CanadaWest.org.
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2018 CANADA WEST WVB PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL
TEAM / POINTS (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)
1. Alberta Pandas / 130 (5)
2. Calgary Dinos / 129 (4)
3. UBC Thunderbirds / 127 (4)
4. Trinity Western Spartans / 117
5. UBCO Heat / 87
6. Manitoba Bisons / 78
7. Regina Cougars / 75
8. Thompson Rivers WolfPack / 67
9. Mount Royal Cougars / 62
10. Saskatchewan Huskies / 49
11. Brandon Bobcats / 43
12. MacEwan Griffins / 37
13. Winnipeg Wesmen / 13
NOTES: Coaches rank all conference teams excluding their own. First-place vote worth 12 pts., second-place 11 pts. etc.
2018 CANADA WEST MVB PRE-SEASON COACHES POLL
TEAM / POINTS (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)
1. Trinity Western Spartans / 117 (7)
2. Brandon Bobcats / 107 (3)
3. Alberta Golden Bears / 105 (2)
4. UBC Thunderbirds / 79
5. Winnipeg Wesmen / 71
6. Calgary Dinos / 67
7. Mount Royal Cougars / 65
8. Thompson Rivers WolfPack / 63
9. Saskatchewan Huskies / 48
10. Manitoba Bisons / 35
11. UBCO Heat / 24
12. MacEwan Griffins / 11
NOTES: Coaches rank all conference teams excluding their own. First-place vote worth 11 pts., second-place 10 pts. etc.
— With Canada West files