PIKEVILLE – Just under two weeks from opening the 2015 season, the University of Pikeville volleyball team was picked to finish eighth in the Mid-South Conference, according to a poll of league coaches released on Thursday.
The Bears, which went 15-20 overall and 1-13 in league play last season, are picked ahead of first-year program Life (Ga.) and just behind Cumberland (Tenn.). There are only six voting points between the three programs.
Ahead of that trio is Lindsey Wilson picked to win the conference with seven first-place votes and 63 points, followed by Georgetown at No. 2 with 58 points and the other two first-place nods. St. Catharine is third, Cumberlands fourth, Campbellsville fifth and Shawnee State (Ohio) comes in at No. 6.
UPIKE opens play on the road, travelling to West Virginia Tech on Aug. 25 and won’t play its home opener until Sept. 4 against MSC-foe Cumberland in UPIKE Gym.
While only carrying one senior and two juniors, the Bears still expect to be led by experience as their top two returning attackers are back in the fold. Junior Sydney Hall is the leader in the middle, while a heavier attacking load is expected for sophomore Connor Cook.
Freshman Savanna Zakman will take over at setter after a stellar prep career at Hanover Central in St. John, Ind., while returning junior Rachel Murphy and transfer Kaitlyn Welsh from Concord, Calif., will be featured in the offense. Sophomores Amari Eadie and Cassidy Tackett will be looked upon as the front line of defense at the net.
MSC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Lindsey Wilson (7) – 63
2. Georgetown (2) – 58
3. St. Catharine – 49
4. Cumberlands – 38
5. Campbellsville – 37
6. Shawnee State (Ohio) – 33
7. Cumberland (Tenn.) – 18
8. Pikeville – 16
9. Life (Ga.) – 12