There appears to be high expectations for the UC Irvine women's volleyball team this season.

The Anteaters were picked second by the Big West Conference head coaches in the preseason poll Tuesday. They went 22-8, 11-5 in the Big West last year, and they return 12 letter winners, including seven upperclassmen.

UCI plans to continue to build excitement for the program.

The UCI women's volleyball team will host an alumni match and coach's chat Aug. 21 in Crawford Court. The event is free and open to the public.

The alumni match begins at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a preview of the 2010 season by Coach Paula Weishoff. Weishoff will also answer questions from the fans in attendance.

Weishoff is in her second season at the helm of the women's volleyball program.

Alumni that are scheduled to participate include Kelly Wing, Whitney Pavlik, Devon Sutherland, Amanda Vazquez, Trisha White Marx, Stacey Mitchell Hyde, Lauren Souto and McCall Miller.

The Anteaters, who play the first eight matches on the road, open the season at the Washington State Tournament Aug. 26-27. UCI plays eight matches at the Bren Center this season and play host to its first home match on Sept. 14 against the University of San Diego at Crawford Court, at 6 p.m.

In the Big West preseason poll, the Anteaters are ranked second behind Long Beach State.

AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans and All-Big West first-team members Kari Pestolesi and Juliane Piggott (Corona del Mar High), paced the 'Eaters in kills last season and are set to lead the way during their senior campaigns.

UC Santa Barbara is ranked third, Cal State Fullerton was selected fourth, followed by Cal Poly and UC Davis, who were tied for fifth. Pacific secured seventh and Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside were knotted in the eighth spot.

— From staff reports