DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson volleyball team was predicted to finish ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings according to the 2011 preaseason coaches poll released Tuesday. The new-look Hatter roster, featuring seven freshmen and just two seniors, plays its first match of the Head Coach Tim Loesch era Friday, August 26.
Lipscomb was projected to capture its third consecutive A-Sun regular season title, earning 85 total points and three first place votes. Kennesaw State (79 points, two first place votes) and Belmont (77 points, one first place vote) were picked close behind in second and third.
A-Sun head coaches expect a hotly contested pennant race this season as five different teams earned a first place nod. FGCU (72 points, two first place votes) and ETSU (68 points, one first place vote) claimed fourth and fifth with Jacksonville (49), Mercer (45), North Florida (44), Stetson (17) and USC Upstate (14) rounding out the predicted order of finish.
Belmont outside hitter Maggie Johnson claimed A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year honors with fellow outside hitters Megan Devine (ETSU), Alyssa Lang (Kennesaw State), Paige Pridgeon (UNF) and Jelena Simic (FGCU) joining her on the preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team. Rounding out the squad are Lipscomb middle blocker Katie Rose along with liberos Charlotte Harris (Mercer) and Holly Youngquist (FGCU).
Stetson opens the 2011 season at 4:30 pm Friday, August 26 vs. Delaware State in the William & Mary Invitational (Williamsburg, Va.).