NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Atlantic Sun Conference coaches have high expectations for Lipscomb Volleyball this season.
Senior right side Brittnay Estes was chosen as A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year and junior Kayla Ostrom was selected as Preseason Setter of the Year.
Senior middle blocker Molly Spitznagle and Estes were named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
The Lady Bisons were also picked to repeat as A-Sun Champions earning seven first place votes. Florida Gulf Coast received the remaining first place vote and earned second place honors.
Estes was an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-South Honorable Mention selection. She was named second team All-Conference selection last season and also was named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team. Estes was also the fan-voted Preseason Player of the Year after polling A-Sun fans on various social media outlets.
Ostrom was a second team All-Conference team member in 2014. She finished 22nd in the nation with 11.17 assists per set last season. She was second in the A-Sun in assists with 1,072 despite missing five matches.
“I think that is awesome that both Kayla and Brittnay have been recognized by the other coaches as the POYs,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “Both of these girls are extremely hard working and have overcome a good deal just to get to this point.
“I truly believe that one of the reasons they were awarded these honors is the passion and the consistency that they both play with. Both of their all-around games are highlighted by multiple strengths and the ability to make plays on offense and defense.”
Spitznagle was a member of the A-Sun All-Conference First Team in 2014.
“I am pumped for our girls that have been honored,” Rosenthal said. “We stress that the only way any of our girls get these types of awards is the overall play of our team and the ability to play within a balanced system.
“Molly's game has consistently progressed to this point. Last year was a break out year in which she took on a much bigger role.”
The Lady Bisons led the preseason poll with 63 points. Florida Gulf Coast received 52 points followed by Jacksonville in third with 41.
Last season the Lady Bisons won the regular season with a 13-1 record. They finished 21-9 overall and were ranked 39th in the final NCAA Division I RPI.
“After losing the senior class that we did it is nice to see that the expectations for ourselves and of the other coaches remain the same,” Rosenthal said. “We fully understand this is a preseason poll and it means very little, but as a program we strive to be at the top every year, whether it is pre or post season polls. “
Rosenthal pointed to assistant coaches Billy Ebel and Ann Armes as two of the keys to bringing in top players and developing them while they play for Lipscomb.
“A good deal of the credit goes to our recruiting efforts of Billy and Ann for not only bringing in a tremendous class, but also having a program that is very balanced so we can make runs every year,” Rosenthal said.
The Lady Bisons started preseason drills this week.
Preseason Player of the Year: Brittnay Estes, Lipscomb
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year: Katarina Morton, Kennesaw State
Preseason Setter of the Year: Kayla Ostrom, Lipscomb
Preseason Atlantic Sun All-Conference Team
Pos Name School Cl
*OH Eleonora Kazarian FGCU Sr.
OPP Emily Laskelle Jacksonville Sr.
DS/L Katarina Morton Kennesaw State So.
OH Brittnay Estes Lipscomb Sr.
MB Molly Spitznagle Lipscomb Sr.
OH Courtney Miller North Florida So.
OH Kayla Eversgerd USC Upstate Sr.
RS Madison Akins Stetson Jr.
* - Denotes a unanimous selection to all-conference team
** - A tie in voting resulted in an eight-person team
Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll
Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points
- Lipscomb (7) 63
- FGCU (1) 52
- Jacksonville 41
- North Florida 38
- Stetson 30
- Kennesaw State 28
- USC Upstate 20
- NJIT 16