Belton (August 20, 2012) -- The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the American Southwest Conference’s East Division in the league’s annual Preseason Coaches Poll. UMHB is coming off the most successful season since the program moved to NCAA Division III and the Cru is picked to return to the ASC Championship Tournament.
The Cru totaled 52 points in balloting of East Division coaches and sports information directors and joined just one point behind second-place U.T.-Tyler. The Patriots totaled 53 points and grabbed one first-place vote. Three-time ASC champion U.T.-Dallas is picked to repeat as East Division champs. The Comets totaled 70 points in the poll and took 11 first-place votes. East Texas Baptist was picked to finish fourth with 37 points, Mississippi College took 26 total points as the pick to finish fifth and LeTourneau University was the pick to finish sixth with 14 total points.
U.T.-Dallas senior outside hitter Dana Hilzendager was voted East Division Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and U.T.-Tyler sophomore libero Emily Wood took Preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors. Defending ASC champion Hardin-Simmons was picked to win the West Division with eleven first-place votes and 71 total points. HSU senior outside hitter Madison Reyes was named West Division Preseason Offensive Player of the Year with HSU junior outside hitter Christine Sas claiming Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Honors.
The Cru finished 21-11 overall and 13-4 in ASC East Division play last year. The Cru volleyball team returns four letter winners from last year’s team and welcomes head coach Rob Frost back for his second season at the helm. The UMHB volleyball team will open the 2012 season with four matches over two days at the U.T.-Dallas Labor Day Tournament on August 31st and September 1st.