PIKEVILLE – After improving its overall win total by eight matches last season, the University of Pikeville volleyball team was picked to finish eighth in the Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, league officials announced on Monday.
The Bears went from 6-25 overall and 0-14 in the MSC in 2012 to 14-21 last season with three conference wins. UPIKE beat Cumberlands, which is fifth in the poll, but the other two MSC wins came against Bluefield (Va.) which is no longer part of the conference.
Lindsey Wilson is the league favorite, collecting five of the eight available first-place votes for 47 points, while Georgetown is close behind with three first-place nods for 45 points.
It’s a steep drop off after that as St. Catharine is third with 34 points, Campbellsville fourth with 33 and Cumberlands fifth with 23 voting points.
Shawnee State (Ohio), Cumberland (Tenn.) and UPIKE round out the poll with 21, 13 and eight points, respectively.
The Bears return 10 players from last season’s team, including leading attackers, sophomore Sydney Hall and senior Haley Esquivel. Junior setter Sydney Morris is also back in the fold, while seven freshman newcomers are on campus looking to get on the court.
UPIKE will open the 2014 season on Aug. 26 at West Virginia Tech, with the home opener on Aug. 30 scheduled for a tri-match with Midway and Ohio Christian.