BERKELEY, Calif. — After sweeping its competition last week in six consecutive sets, California moved from third in the nation to first in the latest AVCA poll released Monday. This is the first time the Golden Bears have been the preeminent team in the country.
“It is an honor that some of the coaches feel we are deserving of the number one ranking,” Cal head coach Rich Feller said. “It is great recognition for our program and the hard work we have put in. However, I will say again that the ranking at the end of the season means more than the beginning. We will work hard to continue to earn the respect we have been given.”
Cal received 31 first-place votes, almost more than triple the amount now-No. 2 Penn State garnered (11). Southern California moved down a notch as well, from second to third with five first-place votes. Texas earned nine first-place votes but stayed steady in fourth place.
Last year, Cal earned its then-highest ranking of third on Oct. 25, only to best that later in the season as the No. 2 team in the country.
Prior to the 2010 season, Cal’s previous highest ranking was No. 4 on several occasions. The Bears earned their highest final ranking of No. 4 at the end of the 2007 when the squad advanced to the national semifinal round of the NCAA championship.
The Bears began the 2011 season as the No. 3 team in the country, making it the 11th time in school history that the Bears have been ranked to open a season and the ninth consecutive time since Rich Feller became head coach in 1999. Cal has now achieved a top-10 preseason ranking four times.