Washington University in St. Louis Volleyball Ranked No. 2 in AVCA Division III Preseason Coaches’ Poll
St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 15, 2012 – The Washington University in St. Louis volleyball team begins the season ranked No. 2 in NCAA Division III in the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Preseason Top-25 Poll, as announced by the association.
Christopher Newport University, the 2011 national runner-up, garnered 14 first-place votes and 676 total points earn the top spot in the AVCA preseason poll. Washington University received seven first-place votes and 653 total points to rank second. Calvin College and Emory University were ranked third and fourth. Wittenberg University, the defending Division III national champion, received the other three first-place votes and came in at No. 5 in the rankings. In addition to Washington University and Emory, fellow University Athletic Association (UAA) member University of Chicago (15th) also landed in the poll.
Washington University head coach Rich Luenemann once again put together one of the most challenging schedules in the country with the Bears slated to compete against 10 squads ranked in the AVCA preseason poll, including three of the four other top-five teams.
In addition to UAA opponents Emory and Chicago, Washington U. will face Calvin, Wittenberg, Hope College (eighth), Juniata College (10th), Elmhurst College (11th), University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (17th), Concordia College-Moorhead (T-19th) and Heidelberg University (21st). The Bears are also scheduled to face Otterbein University, Cornell College and Dominican University, all of whom are among the teams receiving votes.
Washington University finished last season with a 34-2 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Division III Regional championship before falling to Carthage College, 3-2. The Bears posted 9-1 mark in the UAA, and won their 20th conference title in school history.
The Bears return four All-Americans from last year’s squad, led by a pair of three-time All-Americans in seniors Marilee Fisher and Kelly Pang. Fisher was a first-team selection a year ago, while Pang landed on the second team. Senior Drew Hargrave (third team) and junior Meghan Byrne (honorable mention) also return for Washington U. as two-time All-America honorees.
Washington U. opens the 2012 season on Friday, Aug. 31, when it hosts Fontbonne University and Williams Woods University in a dual match doubleheader at the WU Field House beginning at 5 p.m.