ROCK HILL, S.C. --- The Tusculum College volleyball team has been picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference according to the 2013 Preseason SAC Coaches’ Poll.
Lincoln Memorial University was picked third and Carson-Newman was picked to finish ninth.
Tusculum also had a five student-athletes named to the Preseason All-Conference Team.
Tusculum earned 109 total points, including a first place vote in a poll of the league’s 12 head coaches, including conference newcomers Coker and Queens.
The Pioneers return seven letter-winners, including four starters from last year’s 24-8 squad that advanced to the program’s fourth straight NCAA Division II Tournament. Tusculum advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history before being eliminated in the regional championship match.
Defending SAC champion Wingate is the favorite to repeat as the Bulldogs received 121 points, including 11 first place nods. Tusculum is second, followed by Lincoln Memorial (98), Newberry (80), Lenoir-Rhyne (78), Catawba (69), Queens (66), Mars Hill (52), Carson-Newman (45), Anderson (41), Brevard (18) and Coker (15).
Tusculum and Wingate boast the most Preseason All-SAC honorees with five apiece, including three first teamers by the Pioneers. The senior trio of Caitlyn Dean, Kassie Voelker and Ashley Sarmiento are first team selections, while Megan Hasse and Danae Stauffer garnered second team recognition.
Voelker, a 6-0 middle blocker from Morristown, Tenn., earned a spot on the 2012 AVCA All-Southeast Region first team as she led the Pioneers with 87 total blocks, including 18 block solos and 69 block assists.