UTRGV selected to finish third in WAC preseason poll


UTRGV outside hitter Samaret Caraballo and junior outside hitter Sarah Cruz have been named Preseason All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) selections as voted by the WAC head coaches.

UTRGV, which won the 2018 WAC Championship and the 2016 WAC Tournament Championship, was also picked to finish third in the WAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Caraballo primarily played libero last season, recording 502 digs, the eighth-highest single-season total in program history. She had 10 matches of 20 or more digs, tied for the sixth most in a career in program history. She also served 43 aces, tied for the 10th-highest single-season total in program history. Caraballo made one start at outside hitter, recording seven kills with 10 digs at CSU Bakersfield late in the season.

Cruz averaged 3.13 kills, 1.81 digs and 9.48 blocks in 115 sets across 31 matches last season. She led the Vaqueros in kills 12 times, blocks five times and digs once while recording double figures in kills 20times and digs five times en route to five double-doubles.

UTRGV received 48 points in the coaches’ poll, six ahead of California Baptist, which was picked fourth with 42 points. Defending WAC Champion New Mexico State was picked first with eight first place votes and 65 points. Grand Canyon received the remaining first place vote, placing second with 55 points.

Utah Valley was picked to finish fifth with 40 points. Seattle U and newcomers Dixie State and Tarleton State were picked to finish tied for sixth with 21 points. Chicago State was picked last with 12 points.

UTRGV opens the season in Corpus Christi at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22 against UTSA before facing host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as part of the South Texas Showdown at 6:30 p.m.. The home opener, also the Western Athletic Conference opener, is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 25 against Chicago State.