By Zac Bowers
BUENA VISTA, Va. – The Southern Virginia University women's volleyball team finds itself tied for sixth in the 2017 Capital Athletic Conference preseason coach's poll after finishing 8-15 during the 2016 season. The 2016 season included key victories over CAC opponents Wesley, Penn. St.-Harrisburg and Frostburg State.
Third-year head coach Nicole Gwynn is looking at a team which has been able to hit the ground running. "In just the first week of practice there was an energy in the gym that you don't normally see," she said.
Looking to continue on last year's momentum, the Knights will be looking to several returners to showcase their leadership and experience. Penny Gwynn, Hannah Allred, and Alison Tiegs are all returning for the offense, with Delaney Layton, LaRee Crockett and Claire Houghtaling among other returners.
Last year, Gwynn and Allred finished fourth and fifth in kills per set in the CAC. Gwynn averaged 3.48 k/s and Allred averaged 3.40 k/s. Allred garnered second team All-CAC honors.
If the Knights do live up to expectations and finish sixth, they will qualify for the CAC post-season tournament.
"It's fantastic to see the freshmen and returners meshing together on the court and how are becoming a unified team very quickly," Coach Gwynn said. "We expect to see great things out of the team this year."
The Knights will play their season opener Sept. 1 against Randolph at the 23rd Annual Cougar Classic in Danville, Va.
2017 CAC Volleyball Preseason Poll
1. Mary Washington – 79 points
2. Christopher Newport – 72 points
3. Salisbury – 63 points
4. Marymount- 60 points
5. York – 41 points
T6. Southern Virginia – 38 points
T6. St. Mary's – 38 points
8. Frostburg State – 33 points
9. Wesley – 15 points
10. Penn State Harrisburg – 11 points