HIGH POINT, N.C. - Lees-McRae College women's volleyball team has been voted as the preseason favorite for the 2012 season. Lees-McRae enters a new era this season under James Goodridge, who has served as the head coach of the Bobcats’ men’s volleyball team for the past two years. The Bobcats are primed to continue the program’s recent success over the last 14 years, carrying a 58-match winning streak in Conference Carolinas play into the season, which ranks second among active streaks at the NCAA Division II level. Pfeiffer University, also under a new head coach in Greg Walker, was selected 8th heading into their season openers at Francis Marion this weekend.
With a veteran corps led by seniors Megan Mitchell, Taylor Clendenin, Dana Oliver, as well as a strong recruiting class, the Bobcats are well-positioned in their quest for the program’s conference-record 14th league title and a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.
“Lees-McRae Women’s Volleyball is very honored to be named as the top team in the preseason polls,” expressed Goodridge. “However, we understand that it is not how you start, but how you finish. With this mindset, we will work hard to defend this preseason ranking and earn the top spot in the end of the season polls. This is not an easy task as the conference has gotten stronger each year that I have been here. With our own coaching change, we can expect an uphill battle. But, the team and the coaching staff are prepared for it, and we all look forward to the challenge.”
The Queens University of Charlotte Volleyball team is coming into the 2012 season after setting the school record for wins and winning the East Division of Conference Carolinas. With the program only graduating three seniors last year the Royals are poised to build on their overall record of 23-9 and 15-2 in conference. Queens is returning 12 players including Keri Kemp, Lindsey Everhart, and Anna Gibbs, all three of whom led the Royals’ offense and were in the top four in kills on the team. The Royal’s defense will be once again anchored by libero Jocelyn Kellinger who led the team with 405 digs. Queens will be led by second year head coach Lettie Wilkes who will be joined by first year assistant Tammi Fries.
Erskine College is anchored by two-time all-conference honoree, senior libero Brooke Dodge and senior defensive specialist Bailey Thornton, Erskine led the conference in digs, averaging 16.4 digs per set. Offensively, Erskine must replace their two top threats in Sandra Campbell, last year’s conference player of the year, and Jamie Murray, a two-time all-conference honoree. The Flying Fleet do return senior setter Larz Chabra, a three-time all-conference honoree, who will once again direct the Fleet attack. Erskine will lean heavily on their two senior outside hitters, Liz Massey, two-time all-conference honoree, and Lauren Stewart.
King College finished fourth in the poll with Limestone fifth followed by Belmont Abbey, Mount Olive, Pfeiffer, Coker, North Greenville, Barton, and Converse respectively rounding-out the poll standings.
Conference Carolinas Women’s Volleyball Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Lees-McRae – (6) 113
2. Queens – (6) 112
3. Erskine – 96
4. King – 92
5. Limestone – 76
6. Belmont Abbey – 67
7. Mount Olive – 58
8. Pfeiffer – 48
9. Coker – 47
10. North Greenville – 41
11. Barton – 28
12. Converse – 14