Mocs Tabbed Second in Preseason SSC Coaches' Poll
WINTER PARK - Florida Southern was tabbed to finish second in the Sunshine State Conference this coming season in the preseason poll of the league's nine head volleyball coaches that was released by the league office on Wednesday.
The Moccasins, who posted a 22-14 record in 2013 and finished tied for third in the SSC and advanced to the NCAA Division II South Regional semifinals for the third consecutive season, earned 52 points and one first place votes in the preseason poll to finish two points in front of Eckerd, who was tabbed to finish third in the preseason poll. The Tritons, who finished as league runners-up the past three seasons, earned 50 points in the poll. The league's head coaches voted in the poll and they couldn't vote for their own teams in the preseason poll.
Nine-time defending SSC Champion Tampa was selected as the team to beat once again this season as the Spartans, who finished with a 32-2 overall record last season and a 16-0 mark in the league, earned eight of the nine first place votes and 64 points in the preseason poll. UT, who is ranked second in the Preseason AVCA Division II Coaches' Poll, returns five starters from its national quarterfinalist squad in 2013. UT has gone 32-0 in league matches the past two seasons.
Behind Tampa, FSC and Eckerd is Saint Leo, who was tabbed to finish fourth as the Lions earned 44 points. Rollins, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, was picked to finish fifth as the Tars earned 34 points. Lynn was tabbed sixth as they earned 28 points and Barry was tabbed seventh as they received 21 points. Florida Tech and Nova Southeastern received 20 and 11 votes respectively to finish eighth and ninth in the preseason poll.
Moccasin coach Jill Stephens returns four starters, plus its libero and 13 letterwinners from last season's squad that fell to Tampa in the semifinals of the South Regional Tournament. Among the key returners are 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.
The Mocs, who received 37 votes in the Preseason AVCA Coaches' Poll on Monday, 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 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively.