AU Volleyball Picked to Finish Eighth in Poll
Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 9:39PM
Editor

ROCK HILL, S.C.  – As it was last year, the Anderson University volleyball team has been selected to finish eighth in its second season in the South Atlantic Conference in a vote by the league’s coaches as released Tuesday afternoon by the conference office.

The Trojans, who garnered 39 points in the poll, were picked to finish ahead of Lenoir-Rhyne and Brevard and were edged for the sixth spot by Newberry and Mars Hill, with each collecting 40 points. 

Last season the Trojans exceeded the preseason predictions, finishing sixth in the league and posted an overall 18-15 record.  

The 2011 edition of Trojan volleyball will be led by co-captains Tiffany Rowe and Marlie Bryant, the team’s lone senior. Rowe, one of just two juniors on the roster, led the team in blocks last season and already ranks 10th all-time in total blocks in the school’s record books, while Bryant was third on the team last season in both blocks and digs. Sophomore Chelsea Olson, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker is another returning starter who saw action in 32 matches and ranked third on the squad in kills.  

“With the loss of three outstanding seniors it is logical that we would be considered a team that would not do as well as we did last year,” said Anderson head coach Craig Mosqueda. “However, after our early preseason practices, I feel strongly that we will compete at a similar if not higher level in 2011. We have brought in some very talented freshmen and return several letterwinners.” 

Five-time defending South Atlantic Conference champion Wingate has been picked as the favorite to win the league title again in 2011. League coaches gave the Bulldogs six of the 10 first place votes in the preseason poll for a total of 93 points.

Wingate is coming off a dominant season, in which it went 31-2 overall, 18-0 in the SAC, and had a streak of 29 consecutive wins. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship quarterfinals and haven’t lost a conference match since 2006.

Just behind Wingate in the preseason coaches’ poll is Tusculum with 89 points, including one first-place vote. The Pioneers also had an impressive 2010, going 25-7 overall, 16-2 in the SAC. Tusculum was runner-up in last year’s SAC Championship and earned a selection into the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship. 

Coming in third in the preseason coaches’ poll was Carson-Newman with 71 points and one first-place vote. The Eagles advanced to the semifinals of last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional Championship and finished with an overall record 20-11 and 10-8 in league play.

Catawba is fourth in the poll with 68 points.  Coming off last season’s 14-13, 9-9 record, the Indians also received one first-place vote in the preseason poll.

Lincoln-Memorial, a 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional Championship selection is fifth in the poll, followed by Newberry - which also received a first-place vote -- and Mars Hill tied for the No. 6 slot.

Rounding out the coaches’ poll is Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 9 and Brevard at No. 10.

Anderson opens the season on the road at the Cal Poly Pomona Tournament, Sept. 2-3 and will face the host Broncos in the season-opening contest. The Trojans close out the two-day tournament versus Dixie State.

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (http://andersonobserver.com/).
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