Lady Eagles picked to finish third in 2011 SAC volleyball race
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Carson-Newman Lady Eagles are picked to finish third in the 2011 South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll, the conference office announced on Tuesday.
Carson-Newman received 71 points and one first-place vote. The Lady Eagles, under head coach Shannon Mincey, who begins her eighth season at C-N, 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.
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. WU had a total of 93 points.
Wingate is coming off a 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.
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 Lady Eagles open their 2011 regular season at the Francis Marion Invitational on Sept. 2-3. They will face Belmont Abbey, UNC Pembroke, Erskine, and Francis Marion in the two-day event. Last season, the Lady Eagles went 4-0 in the tournament.
C-N hosts Wingate University in its SAC and home opener on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.
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