Thomasville, NC -- Lees-McRae will be gunning for their unprecedented tenth consecutive conference tournament championship as they start the year ranked number one in the coaches' preseason poll. The Lady Bobcats bid for the record-setting, decade long feat will be no easy task to accomplish after graduating a pair of All-Conference first team members in Amanda Huffaker and Lacie Smith. "Honestly, I was shocked to see that ranking," commented Head Coach Jamie Petrik. "We are in the process of rebuilding, and this year will be a test to see how well our veterans can lead the younger ranks. Some newcomers will certainly take to the court right away."
Coach Petrik will look to seniors Daviana Metti and Caty Honey, second and fourth in kills in 2006 respectively, to help pick up the slack. They will team with setters Trisha Reese and Lauren Dickover to provide a formidable punch with senior libero Dani Usedom leading the Lady Bobcats in the backcourt defensively while also being the team's primary passer. The Lady Bobcats (29-8, 17-1 CVAC in 2006), will start the season at the Northern Virginia Invitational opening up the year against Concordia on August 24th.
The Limestone College volleyball team is looking forward to a great year after one of the best seasons in school history in 2006. The Lady Saints return ten players from their 2006 roster. While the Lady Saints lose three talented players in 2006 All-Conference honorees Alison Hamilton, Julie Oleson, and Amber Wise, Limestone returns several strong players including middle hitter Ashley Hubbard, defensive specialist/outside hitter Chelsea Anthony, and sophomore middle/outside hitter Melissa Thomas, a 2006 All-CVAC honoree . The team also has a talented freshman class which includes setters Laura Kerrison and Randi Hunton, and middle/outside hitter Jennifer O'Keefe.
Entering her tenth season as Anderson University's head volleyball coach, Jennifer Bell believes she has all of the ingredients to have a special season. "I think we're the most talented we've ever been," Bell said. "We have the most depth we've ever had. We're strong both mentally and physically. We don't want the little stuff to get in the way. We want to keep our bond as a team this season."
The Lady Trojans were 21-16 overall and 13-7 in the conference last fall. They finished fourth in the league standings and reached the semifinals of the league tournament. Anderson will be led by two of the best players in Conference Carolinas - senior outside hitter Leanna Willis and junior outside hitter Amanda Edwards. In 2006, Edwards led the team in kills with 444 and was second in digs with 500, while Willis led the team in digs with 560 and was second on the team in kills with 417.
Rounding out the poll 4-11 was: Coker, Pfeiffer, Converse & St. Andrews (tied), Mount Olive, Barton, Belmont Abbey, and Queens respectively.
Conference Carolinas Volleyball Preseason Poll (# of First Place
Votes in Parenthesis)
1. Lees-McRae (7) 97
2. Limestone (3) 90
3. Anderson (1) 83
4. Coker 65
5. Pfeiffer 55
T-6 Converse 51
T-6 St. Andrews 51
8. Mount Olive 46
9. Barton 37
10. Belmont Abbey 19
11. Queens 11