Rock Hill, S.C. - The Tornados were selected tenth in the annual South Atlantic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday.
Coach Brenda Skeffington and seniors Lindsey Rogers, Jordei Osby, Cassie Smatana and Ashlie Morrison will look to lead the way for the Tornados as they begin their fourth full season as members of the SAC and the NCAA Division II.
Five-time defending South Atlantic Conference champion Wingate has been picked as the favorite to win the league title again in 2011, the conference office released on Tuesday.
League coaches gave the Bulldogs six of the 10 first place votes in the preseason poll. WU had 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.
The Bulldogs 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 Anderson at No. 8, Lenoir-Rhyne at No. 9 and Brevard at No. 10.
The 2011 SAC volleyball season gets underway on Sept. 2.
2011 SAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Team Points (1st Place Votes)
1. Wingate 93 (6)
2. Tusculum 89 (1)
3. Carson-Newman 71 (1)
4. Catawba 68 (1)
5. Lincoln Memorial 67
t6. Newberry 40 (1)
t6. Mars Hill 40
8. Anderson 39
9. Lenoir-Rhyne 33
10. Brevard 10