Women's Volleyball ranked #1 in preseason poll
August 08, 2009

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The Lady Lions edged the Union College Bulldogs for top position in the 2009 Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released yesterday. The Lady Lions, who finished in the #2 position during the 2008 regular season, were beaten by Union in the 2008 AAC semifinal.

In this year's preseason poll, Bryan College earned 76 out of a possible 90 points with 6 first-place votes. Union College was a close second, with 73 total points and the remaining 3 first-place votes. Milligan emerged as the third-ranked team, narrowly edging out new AAC member Reinhardt College of Waleska, GA, with a tally of 58 points to 57 respectively.

"This is testimony to the respect our program has earned in the AAC the past five years," commented Head Coach Leo Sayles (6th season). "I expect another tight race in the conference between us, Union, and Milligan. All three of our teams return with the core of our starters. Reinhardt College will be very tough, even though they will be a young team. I would also not be surprised to see another team work its way into the mix this season."

The Lions return four of six starters from the 2008 season, plus their libero. Leading the way are 2008 NCCAA All-American OH Alison Young and 2008 All Conference MB/OPP Amber Smith. The 2008 AAC All-Freshman Team libero Jessica Kaya has recovered from shoulder surgery and will be the core of the Bryan defense. Senior setters Amanda Manke and Hannah Suits will bring their experience and leadership to guide the Lion offense.

The Lions open their season late this year, with a September 4-5 trip to Columbia, MO, to take part in the Columbia College Best Western Classic. The Lions will face 2008 NAIA #5 Columbia and 2008 NAIA #9 Lindenwood University as well as other teams at the tournament. The Lions open conference competition on September 11 at Milligan College.

2009 AAC Preseason Volleyball Poll (coaches' votes in parentheses)

  1. Bryan College (6)
  2. Union College (3)
  3. Milligan College
  4. Reinhardt College
  5. Montreat College
  6. Tennessee Wesleyan
  7. University of Virginia at Wise
  8. Bluefield College
  9. Virginia Intermont College