Calvin Voted Top Team in AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll

Lexington, Ky. (August 17, 2011) – Calvin College begins the 2011 volleyball season as the No. 1 team in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll, it was announced this afternoon by the AVCA headquarters.

The defending national champion Knights led by Amber Warners, will look to duplicate a run that saw them post a 32-4 overall record and share the MIAA Championship with Hope College.  It appears they are in good position to do it again, as they return six starters plus a libero with a grand total of 14 total returning letterwinners.  Leading the returnees is senior middle blocker Rebecca Kemp, who was named a 2010 AVCA First-Team All-American and the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Division III Finals.

Giving chase to Calvin is another perennial Division III power, Emory University, who enters the season as the No. 2 team in the rankings. The Eagles ended the 2010 campaign with a 36-4 record, the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship and were the NCAA National Runners-Up. The program welcomes six starters back in 2010, and will be led by National Player of the Year Amelia McCall and two-time AVCA All-Americans Natalie Schonefield and Jessica McAlvany.

Coming in at No. 3 in the poll is Washington St. Louis, a program that finished 2010 with a 35-4 record, securing the University Athletic Association (UAA) title and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.  Head coach Rich Luenemann has six and 14 total letterwinners coming back to campus, and will look to AVCA All-Americans in Kelly Pang (libero) and Lauren Budde (outside hitter) and Marilee Fisher (setter)  to propel the squad to another berth in the NCAA postseason.

Christopher Newport rings in the new season as the No. 4 vote-getter in the rankings. Head coach Lindsay Birch’s Captains advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago, ending the campaign with a 38-3 record and a USA South championship. Leading the five returning starters and eight letterwinners will be a couple 2010 AVCA All-America selections in setter Jessie Heavenrich and libero Abby Hogge.

After reaching the NCAA regional final a season ago, ending the year as the sixth-ranked team in the country, Wittenberg debuts 2010 as the poll’s No. 5 squad. Floor general Paco Labrador, after directing the team to a 32-3 record in 2010, will return five starters, including his libero, in a quest to send the Tigers back to the NCAA postseason. Leading the charge will be 2010 AVCA Second-Team All-American middle blocker Katie Sumner. However, the Tigers will look to make another run despite losing First-Team All-American Amy Cox.

Rounding out the poll’s top-ten are Juniata College, Eastern University, California Lutheran University, The University of Wisconsin-Platteville, St. Thomas University (Minn.).

AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Preseason Poll: August 17, 2011

 

Rank

School (First-Place Votes)

Total Points

2010 Record

2010 Final Poll 

1

Calvin (23)

599 

32-4

Emory (1)

577 

36-4

3

Washington-St. Louis

552 

35-4

3

Christopher Newport 

511 

38-3 

5

Wittenberg 

490 

32-3 

Juniata 

463 

34-6 

Eastern (Pa.) 

453 

30-5 

Cal Lutheran 

428 

29-4 

13 

9

Wisconsin-Platteville

384 

33-4 

10

St. Thomas (Minn.) 

357 

30-7 

11 

Carthage 

346 

31-8 

14

12 

Heidelberg 

298

33-6 

15

13

Colorado College 

273 

30-7 

16 

14

Concordia (Minn.) 

254 

24-7 

20

15

Hope 

224 

27-5 

10

16

St. Olaf 

217 

31-5 

11

17

Southwestern (Texas) 

209 

32-7 

19 

18 

Whitworth 

171 

18-7 

24 

19 

UMass-Boston 

150

30-5 

17 

20 

Wisconsin-Eau Claire 

126 

25-10 

18

21

NYU 

115 

38-6

12

22

Puget Sound 

109 

18-7 

NR 

23

Occidental 

101 

25-8 

NR 

24

Wisconsin-Whitewater 

93 

28-9 

21 

 25

Chicago 

79 

30-13

NR 


Others Receiving Votes and listed on two or more ballots:
   Wartburg 46; Nebraska Wesleyan 40; Wisconsin-Oshkosh 26; Trinity (Texas) 22; Case Western 17; SUNY Cortland 10; Tufts 10; Stevens 9; Middlebury 6; Randolph Macon 3; SUNY New Paltz 3

Five schools were listed on only one ballot for a total of 29 points.

Dropped Out:   Nebraska Wesleyan (22); Wisconsin-Oshkosh (23); Randolph Macon (25)


Next Poll: September 6. 2011


Poll conducted and distributed by the AVCA

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