Volleyball: Panthers ninth in USA South preseason coaches poll

Volleyball: Panthers ninth in USA South preseason coaches poll

(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - Christopher Newport University, under the direction of Head Coach Lindsay Birch in her 11th year, was picked in the preseason coaches' poll to win the USA South Athletic Conference volleyball title in 2012. The Captains have captured at least a share of eight consecutive regular season crowns. CNU has also won nine of the past 11 USA South Tournament championships, including the last five titles. Last season, the Captains advanced to the National Championship Game of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The 2012 season marks the first in the USA South for new Conference members LaGrange College, Maryville College and Piedmont College. Each institution is a former member of the Great South Athletic Conference.

"We are excited to playing in the new conference," said head coach Julie Moses, the 2011 Great South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.  "We welcome the challenges and opportuninties that being picked ninth brings."

Christopher Newport received 11 of the 12 first place votes (121 points) as head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.

Newcomer Maryville looks to make an immediate impact as the Scots are ranked second in the poll with 108 points and the final remaining first place vote. Last year's Conference Tournament runner-up, Averett University placed third in the rankings with 99 points while N.C. Wesleyan College was fourth with 87 points. Rounding out the top-half of the poll was another new addition to the league, Piedmont, with 80 points.

The volleyball regular season gets underway on Friday, August 31 as five of the league's 12 teams are in action. The Panthers are one of the five teams opening that day. The Panthers play in the Huntingdon College Jubilee in Montgomery, Ala. against Mississippi College and host Huntingdon.

For the first time, the 2012 USA South Tournament will head to Martinsville, Virginia as the Southern Virginia Recreation Facilities Authority will host the event. The contests will be held at Patrick Henry Community College. First round matches will take place on Friday, November 2, following by the semifinals and final which will be played on Saturday, November 3. The top-eight seeded teams after the conclusion of regular season competition will advance to the tournament.

2012 USA South Volleyball Coaches Preseason Poll

Rank

Institution (1st Place Votes)

Pts.

1.

Christopher Newport (11)

121

2.

Maryville (1)

108

3.

Averett

99

4.

N.C. Wesleyan

87

5.

Piedmont

80

6.

Meredith

69

7.

Methodist

67

8.

Greensboro

47

9.

LaGrange

41

10.

William Peace

39

11.

Mary Baldwin

21

12.

Ferrum

13