Mocs Receive 37 Votes in Preseason AVCA D-II Coaches' Poll
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Florida Southern earned 37 votes in the Preseason American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) NCAA Division II Coaches' Top 25 Poll that was released on Monday afternoon.
FSC, who finished with a 22-14 overall record and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA South Regional and earned its 27th all-time NCAA Tournament berth in program history last season, was one of three Sunshine State Conference teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in this season's preseason AVCA poll.
The Moccasins were last ranked in the AVCA poll during the 2010 season when they were ranked 24th in the Week 3 poll. Entering the 2014 season, the Mocs have been ranked a total of 201 weeks in the AVCA poll, which is seventh best among current Division II schools.
FSC returns five starters and 13 letterwinners from last season's team, including redshirt senior setter Ali Skayhan (Beaverton, Ore.), who missed the entire 2013 campaign due to injury and senior libero Catherine Brusie (North Branch, Mich.), who was named an All-SSC performer and also was selected to the South Regional All-Tournament Team after transferring from Winthrop University. Skayhan was named a Second-Team AVCA All-American as a junior in 2012. Other returning starters for the Mocs are senior outside hitter Kate Stromberg (Lexington, Ky.), junior right side hitter Kendall Marotti (LaBelle, Fla.), who was named an Honorable Mention AVCA All-South Region selection last season, junior middle blocker Kayshia Brady (Weluka, Fla.), who was named to the South Regional All-Tournament Team and sophomore outside hitter Brindl Langley (Camas, Wash.), who was tabbed the SSC Freshman of the Year.
Tampa (31-2) opens the 2014 campaign as the highest and only ranked SSC team as the Spartans earned 1,151 points and eight first placed votes to stand No. 2 in the poll, while FSC was third among the 17 schools that earned votes in the poll and Eckerd (20-10 in 2013) earned three votes in the preseason poll.
In addition to the two SSC ranked foes, the Mocs are scheduled to play six other teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA preseason poll. The ranked teams FSC will face are Concordia-St. Paul, who are the seven-time defending national champions and preseason ranked No. 1, Central Missouri is fifth, West Florida is 23rd and Palm Beach Atlantic is ranked 25th. In addition, Metro State and Lewis (Ill.) received 31 and 29 votes respectively. FSC will play Concordia-St. Paul, Metro State and Central Missouri at the Premier Challenge in Denver, while they will host Lewis (Ill.) on Sept. 5 as part of the season opening FSC/Terrace Hotel Classic and host West Florida on Oct. 16 as part of the South Region Crossover in Lakeland and the Mocs will play matches against Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach on Oct. 13 and at home on Nov. 4.
The poll is voted on by 48 AVCA Division II member coaches and is released weekly during the season. The first poll of the regular season will be issued on Sept. 8.
Behind Concordia-St. Paul and Tampa in the rankings at No. 3 is Minnesota-Duluth (33-3) is ranked third and received one first place vote, while BYU-Hawaii (29-2) is fourth and Central Missouri is fifth.
West Texas A&M (34-4) begins the season at No. 6 and the Lady Buffs are followed by Southwest Minnesota State (24-8) at No. 7 and Cal State-San Bernardino (27-6) is 8th. Nebraska-Kearney (27-7) is ninth and Washburn (31-6) rounds out the preseason Top 10.
The next 10 of the poll begins UC-San Diego (26-6) at No. 11 and they are followed by Western Washington (23-4) at No. 12 and Ferris State (25-9) is 13th. Grand Valley State (32-3) is at No. 14, while Wingate (32-3) is at No. 15 and Sonoma State (26-6) is at No. 16. Wheeling Jesuit (39-6) is at No. 17 and are followed by Colorado Mines (25-7) at No. 18, Angelo State (25-10) at No. 19 and Wayne State (Neb.) (22-10) rounds out the Top 20 at No. 20.
Northern State (22-8) opens the season at No. 21 and is followed Armstrong Atlantic (32-2) at No. 22 and West Florida (26-10) at No. 23. Indianapolis (25-10) is ranked 24th and Palm Beach Atlantic (29-4), who is in its first season a provisional member of the SSC, is ranked 25th.
FSC, who began preseason practice for the season on Friday, Aug. 15, opens its 2014 campaign on Sept. 5-6 by hosting the FSC/Terrace Hotel Classic at Jenkins Field House. The Mocs will open the two-day event on Sept. 5 against Lewis (Ill.) at 7 p.m., before facing New Haven and Flagler on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 12:30 and 7 p.m. respectively.
Click here for the complete 2014 Preseason AVCA Division II Coaches' Poll