Anderson Volleyball Predicted to Finish Ninth in SAC Preseason PollAugust 13, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Anderson University volleyball team has been predicted to finish ninth in the South Atlantic Conference in a vote by the league’s coaches as released Monday afternoon by the conference office.
Sophomore standout Shannon Gillespie, one of the team’s tri-captains this season and a 5-foot-10 outside hitter, earned Second-Team All-SAC honors after leading the team with 312 kills last season and ranking in the top 10 in the league. She was also third on the squad with 278 digs. The Fishers, Ind. native led the Trojans in kills on nine occasions and reached double-figure kills in 16 contests on the strength of 12 double-doubles.
“It is an honor to have Shannon named to the second team,” said Anderson head coach Craig Mosqueda. “She has worked extremely hard for this honor.”
The Trojans, who garnered 20 points in the poll, were picked to finish ahead of Brevard, while Newberry was tabbed to finish in eighth with 32 points, one spot ahead of AU. The young 2011 Trojan squad finished ninth a season ago, posting an 8-22 overall record.
“Obviously from our last year’s results in the conference we knew that we could be ranked in this position,” added Mosqueda. “Just like anything, you have to prove your capabilities before you will get credited with value. I believe by the middle of our season, we will have demonstrated our ability to compete in the top half of our conference as we did in our first year in the conference. We had a great spring season that I feel prepared us for our conference opponents. We are still young but the experienced gained in the spring has seasoned the sophomores. Tiffany and Shelby, our two seniors, are also hungry after last season’s disappointing results and will be looking to exit on different terms.”
The Trojans return 10 letterwinners this season, with seven of the returnees logging significant playing time last season.
Tiffany Rowe and Shelby Netherton, the team’s lone seniors, also serve as captains, with Rowe, a 6-foot-3 middle blocker, already etching her name in the AU record books. The Myrtle Beach native Rowe was 26th in the nation in blocks per set with 112 a season ago and ranks sixth in school history in total career blocks.
Sophomore setter Meghan Cautero played in all 30 matches as a newcomer a year ago and already ranks in the top ten in the school record books in career assists after just one season, dishing out 753 assists. The native of Naples, Fla. native tallied at least 30 digs in seven matches a year ago, while notching three double-doubles.
Fellow sophomore Hailey Pittman, a 5-foot-11 middle blocker will see plenty of action this season after recording 137 kills last season and posting 27 blocks, while another pair of sophomores, Alix Hooker and Kalie Endres will likely see action as both libero and defensive specialist. Endres was eighth in the league with nearly 400 digs last season, while Hooker ranked second on the squad with more than 300 digs.
Six-time defending South Atlantic Conference champion Wingate has been picked as the favorite to win the league title again in 2012. League coaches gave the Bulldogs nine of the 10 first place votes in the preseason poll for a total of 81 points.
The Bulldogs, who enter 2012 with an 82-match SAC winning streak and a 50-match regular season winning streak intact, went 32-1 last season, won the Food Lion SAC Tournament title, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championship regional final.
Wingate had three student-athletes selected to the preseason All-SAC Team, which tied for the most in the conference. WU’s two first-team picks – Anna Hilton and Cory McGowan – were also first-team All-SAC selections in 2011.
Catawba was picked No. 2 in the preseason poll, following a 2011 season in which it went 22-7 overall and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Indians, runners up at last year’s SAC Volleyball Championship, also had three players selected to the preseason All-SAC Team, including first-teamers Jordan Raye and Kaitlyn Whitmer.
Both student-athletes were All-SAC First Team picks in 2011 as well.
Lincoln Memorial, another 2011 NCAA Volleyball Championship selection, was voted No. 3 in the 2012 preseason poll. LMU will be led once again by preseason All-SAC First Team selection Blaire Fowler, who was also a first-team pick last year after the Railsplitters went 22-7 overall and 14-4 in league play.
2011 NCAA Tournament selection Tusculum was picked fourth in the preseason coaches’ poll. Three TC players earned spots on the preseason All-SAC Team, led by first-teamers Caitlyn Dean and Sam Underwood.
Lenoir-Rhyne was voted No. 5 in the preseason poll, followed by No. 6 Mars Hill and No. 7 Carson-Newman.
Newberry, which will be led by preseason All-SAC First Team pick Samantha Parrish, was picked No. 8 in the preseason poll. The Wolves earned their first-ever bid to the NCAA Volleyball Championship last season.
Anderson opens the regular season on the road at Limestone’s College Classic, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, and will face Southern Wesleyan, Brenau and the host Saints.
Team Points (1st-place votes)
1. Wingate 81 (9)
2. Catawba 67 (1)
3. Lincoln Memorial 63
4. Tusculum 62
5. Lenoir-Rhyne 45
6. Mars Hill 37
7. Carson-Newman 34
8. Newberry 32
9. Anderson 20
10. Brevard 9
PRESEASON ALL-SOUTH ATLANTIC CONFERENCE TEAM
Jordan Raye, Catawba
Kaitlyn Whitmer, Catawba
Blaire Fowler, Lincoln Memorial
Caitlyn Dean, Tusculum
Sam Underwood, Tusculum
Anna Hilton, Wingate
Cory McGowan, Wingate
Samantha Parrish, Newberry
Shannon Gillespie, Anderson
Jenny Young, Catawba
Jennifer Drumm, Lincoln Memorial
Maggie Murphy, Mars Hill
Marissa Wixson, Mars Hill
Lauren Prachar, Newberry
Ashley Sarmiento, Tusculum
Grace Krauser, Wingate