LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - After winning its fifth league title in the last eight seasons and competing in the NCAC Tournament for the 20th year in a row in 2017, the SCAC volleyball coaches have selected the Colorado College Tigers as the preseason favorites for the 2018 SCAC volleyball season.
The CC Tigers, who begin the season ranked third in the AVCA coaches poll, earned seven of the nine first-place votes cast by league coaches for 79 total points. Trinity, which finished as the SCAC Tournament runners-up and made its 23rd NCAA postseason appearance in 2017, garnered the final two first-place votes and finished second in the poll with 72 total points. Southwestern rounded out the top-three in the poll with 65 points following its third-straight season with 30 or more wins and 15th NCAA Tournament appearance last year. Trinity and Southwestern Texas Lutheran checked in at fourth with 50 points and Austin College earned the fifth position with 49 points. Centenary finished sixth in the poll with 32 points, while Dallas and Johnson & Wales tied in the poll at seventh with 21 points. Schreiner rounded out the nine-team field with 16 points.
The SCAC is one of just two conferences with three teams ranked in the top 12 of the AVCA Division III Coaches Preseason Poll. Joining third ranked Colorado College in the rankings is Southwestern at ninth and Trinity at 11th.
Colorado College returns a wealth of talent from last year's squad that suffered a 3-1 loss in the regional final against eventual national champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, including five of six starters and its libero. Leading the charge will be junior first-team All-American setter Lizzy Counts and honorable-mention All-Americans senior right-side hitter Aria Dudley and junior outside hitter Jordan Mullen. Counts, the reigning SCAC Player of the Year, is coming off a sophomore season in which she totaled 1,223 assists to help fuel an offense that combined to hit a league-best .282 in conference competition. She also recorded 276 digs and 54 aces. Dudley and Mullen return this season after combining for over five kills per set, 609 total kills and 83 blocks last season. Now in his 21st year at the helm, Colorado College’s Rick Swan enters the 2018 season with an overall record of 515-167 (.755) with the Tigers. Swan was named SCAC Coach of the Year in 2017 when he guided CC to the regular-season crown with a perfect 14-0 for the second time in three years.
The 2018 SCAC Volleyball season is set to kick off with non-conference action on Friday, August 31st, while the first SCAC crossover weekend is scheduled for Friday, September 14th. Following the completion of the regular season, the top six teams in the league will compete in a single-elimination tournament, hosted by the University of Dallas, to determine the conference's automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. The SCAC is one of just three Division III conferences who have sent three or more teams to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons.
2018 SCAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
|1.||Colorado College (7)||79|
|2.||Trinity University (2)||72|
|4.||Texas Lutheran University||50|
|7.||University of Dallas||21|
|Johnson & Wales University (Denver)||21|