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Volleyball picked highest ever in preseason poll

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team is ranked second in the preseason poll of coaches in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

It is the highest preseason ranking ever for the Lady Bisons volleyball program. Florida Gulf Coast, the 2007 regular season champion, received nine first place votes. Belmont and ETSU each received one.

“The highest we had ever been picked in the preseason was fourth or fifth,” said Lady Bisons volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal. “To be one of the top two teams in the conference in preseason is an honor.

“The thing that we have done over the past five years is that we have finished ahead of where we have been picked in preseason. This should be interesting.”

The Lady Bisons, last season’s Atlantic Sun Tournament Champion, received four votes to repeat as the tournament winner. They tied with Belmont for that honor. The Lady Bisons beat Mercer, Belmont and Jacksonville last season to make their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

“After winning the tournament championship we kind of expected to be up there,” said Rosenthal. “It is an honor. It’s fun.

“This is what we have aimed for. This is what we have geared our program towards. We hoped it would come to this and it has. Now we have to go after it.”

Sophomore setter Stefine “Jake” Pease was named to the Preseason All-Tournament Team. Pease was the A-Sun Freshman of the Year last season and was also the A-Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player. She was also AVCA Freshman of the Year in the Southern Region.

“She was solid throughout the year, but really her performance towards the end of the year showed a lot of people she is a setter that is going to be solid for the next few years,” said Rosenthal. “She is so athletic and so dynamic.

“It took her awhile to get comfortable last season. We just got a glimpse of her ability late last season. She has so much heart and determination.”

2008 Volleyball A-Sun Preseason Coaches Poll
# School (1st Place Vote) Points
1. Florida Gulf Coast (9) 115
2. Lipscomb 100
3. Belmont (1) 97
4. Jacksonville 95
5. ETSU (1) 83
6. Mercer 58
7. UNF 45
8. Stetson 44
9. Campbell 33
10. USC Upstate 31
11. Kennesaw State 24

Tournament Champion: Belmont and Lipscomb each received four (4) votes

2008 A-Sun Preseason All-Conference Team
Pos. Player (Yr.) School
L Shelley Walroth (Jr.) Jacksonville
S Jake Pease (So.) Lipscomb
S Roberta Santos (Sr.) FGCU
OH Ana Kokanovic (Sr.) Florida Gulf Coast
OH Sara Bendorf (Sr.)* Jacksonville
OH Cat Mundy (Sr.)* Belmont
MH Emily Cahill (Sr.) Belmont

* - vote was unanimous

Preseason Player of the Year: Cat Mundy, Outside Hitter, Belmont