Aug. 14, 2006
MACON, Ga. - The results are in and a pair of teams was selected by the league's 10 head coaches to finish first in the Atlantic Sun Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll.
North Florida and Belmont deadlocked at 94 points total and five first place points apiece, tying for the predicted top regular season finish. The Bruins were favored to take the tournament crown after reaching the finals for the first time last season. UNF is ineligible for the tournament due to its reclassification status.
Belmont posted a 22-15 (6-3 A-Sun) record last season en route to the A-Sun Tournament finals last year. The Bruins lost three seniors including All-Atlantic Sun picks Sara Jacobson and Lindsey Cleveland. However, they return many of their core players such as Katie Tobiaz and Colleen Nilson. Tobiaz ranked second in the league in hitting percentage (.311) last season and Nilson finished second in assists (12.26 p/g).
Unable to participate in the tournament, UNF made the most of first season in the A-Sun. The Ospreys finished third overall with a 19-10 (7-2 A-Sun) record. As a team, UNF was among the league's top three in hitting percentage, assists, kills and aces and lead the A-Sun in digs. Much of that was due to All-Atlantic Sun selections Emily Kohler, Magen Wood and All-Freshman Heather Kendrick.
Rounding out the top five are Lipscomb, Jacksonville and ETSU respectively. Mercer, Campbell and Stetson were picked sixth, seventh and eighth. Newcomer Kennesaw State begins it inaugural volleyball season and was tabbed ninth, just ahead of Gardner-Webb.
The 12-member league headquartered in Macon, Ga., consists of Belmont, Campbell, ETSU, Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Mercer, UNF and Stetson with Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate beginning competition in 2007-08.