FLORENCE, Ky. – The University of Rio Grande was picked sixth in the 2015 Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Friday by the league office.
The RedStorm tallied 86 points in the balloting of the conference’s 13 head coaches. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
Head coach Billina Donaldson’s squad had an overall record of 18-18 last season, including a 6-4 mark in KIAC play. Eight members of last year’s squad return this fall, including All-KIAC 2nd Team honoree Kayla Briley.
Point Park (Pa.) University was picked as the conference favorite in the poll. The Pioneers received seven of the 12 first-place votes and had a conference-leading 127 points in the voting.
Point Park has five starters returning from last year’s KIAC Tournament championship team that was 27-16 overall and 8-2 KIAC.
Asbury (Ky.) University, last year’s KIAC regular season champion, came in second in the preseason poll with 122 points and three first-place votes. The Eagles led the conference last year at 38-9 overall, 9-1 KIAC and are coming off a KIAC Tournament semifinals appearance.
IU Kokomo is predicted third this year with 114 points in the poll and the remaining two first-place votes. The Cougars, who enter their fourth year as a volleyball program, were 25-8 last year (7-3 KIAC) and were a KIAC semifinalist.
IU Southeast was the runner-up in the 2014 KIAC Tournament and is predicted in fourth place this year with 94 points in the poll. The Grenadiers were 17-19 overall last year and one of three teams that were 7-3 KIAC.
IU East (20-14, 7-3 KIAC in 2014) is right behind IU Southeast with 93 points and predicted in fifth place, with Rio Grande in sixth place.
Rounding out the poll are Cincinnati Christian (62 points) in seventh place, Ohio Christian (58 points) in eighth, Carlow (49 points) in ninth, Midway (Ky.) (46 points) in 10th, West Virginia Tech (37 points) in 11th, Brescia (Ky.) (36 points) in 12th and Alice Lloyd (Ky.) (12 points) in 13th.
The 2015 KIAC Volleyball season begins Aug. 21. All KIAC teams will play each other once during the regular season, and the top eight teams qualify for the KIAC Tournament Nov. 13-14 hosted by Rio Grande.
The KIAC Tournament champion and the KIAC Regular Season champion will receive an automatic berth to the NAIA Volleyball National Championship, which begins Nov. 21 with the Opening Round and continues Dec. 1-5 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.