Grizzlies picked third in RMAC West, eighth overall
At least four nationally-ranked teams on Grizzlies' 2010 schedule
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— The Adams State College Grizzlies have been picked to finish third in West Division and eighth overall according to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released Wednesday by conference officials.
The Grizzlies, who return seven letterwinners and five starters from last year’s team that advanced to the 8-team RMAC Tournament for the third straight year, received 98 points in the polling of the conference’s 14 head coaches who each ranked the opposition 1-13 without voting for their own squad.
Nebraska-Kearney, which went a perfect 19-0 in RMAC play last year, received half of the first place votes and took first place in both the East Division and overall poll with 20 points. The Lopers have won at least a share of the RMAC Regular Season title in each of the last six years. Metro State, which claimed the 2009 RMAC Tournament title with a 5-set win over the Lopers in the championship match, received the other seven place first votes while finishing a close second in the poll with 21 points.
Colorado Mines was picked third in the East Division and the overall poll with 49 points while defending RMAC West Division Champion Mesa State, the squad that knocked the Grizzlies out of the RMAC Tournament, was picked to win the West Division again. The Mavericks were tabbed fourth overall with 55 points.
Western New Mexico was picked second in the West Division and seventh overall with 90 points while Western State, Fort Lewis and Colorado State-Pueblo finished directly behind the Grizzlies in both the West Division and overall polls with 106, 114 and 126 points, respectively. New Mexico Highlands was picked last in both the West Division and overall polls with 156 points.
In the East Division, UC-Colorado Springs was picked fourth and fifth overall with 58 points while Regis was tabbed fifth in the division and sixth overall with 69 points. Chadron State, 12th overall with 145 points, and Colorado Christian, 13th overall with 158 points, rounded out the East Division squads.
A 7-member Preseason All-RMAC Team was also announced in conjunction with the coaches’ poll and is highlighted by Metro State outside hitter Bri Morley, the RMAC Preseason Player of the Year. Morley was a Third Team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American in 2009 and was tabbed as the RMAC Tournament MVP.
Nebraska-Kearney had two players selected in senior middle hitter Jeri Walkowiak and senior setter Cola Svec, also named as the RMAC’s Preseason Setter of the Year. Colorado Mines’ Elizabeth Serra-Hsu, Fort Lewis’ Chelsea Flaming and Regis’ Jessica Howe, all senior outside hitters were also named to the Preseason All-RMAC team as was Mesa State senior setter Tara King.
Nebraska-Kearney’s Katlyn Heiserman also received recognition as the RMAC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
In other news, the AVCA announced its’ Preseason Division II Coaches Poll. 3-time defending NCAA Division II National Champion Concordia-St. Paul received all 32 first place votes. The Golden Bears, who have won 74 straight matches entering the 2010 campaign, are one of four nationally-ranked teams on the Grizzlies’ tough schedule, a group that also includes No. 9 Minnesota-Duluth, No. 10 Metro State and No. 13 Nebraska-Kearney.
The Grizzlies will also play West Florida, one of eight other squads listed on two or more ballots in the national poll, and could play up to two other matches against nationally-ranked foes depending on who they are matched up against on the second day of the Colorado Premier Challenge.
After starting the season with an Aug. 28 scrimmage against an Adams State Alumni squad in Plachy Hall, the Grizzlies begin the regular season at the Nebraska-Omaha Volleyball Showcase on Sept. 3 and 4, facing Minnesota-Duluth in their second match.
On Sept. 10 at the Colorado Premier Challenge, the Grizzlies will face both Concordia-St. Paul and West Florida. They then play at Nebraska-Kearney on Sept. 18 and host Metro State on Oct. 16.