(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - The USA South Athletic Conference's volleyball coaches have released their 2017 preseason polls. Each divisional preseason poll only includes votes from coaches within that particular division-only. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.
This is the fifth season that the Conference will split into divisions in the sport of volleyball as the Conference welcomes new League members Berea College, Brevard College and Pfeiffer University. Brevard and Pfeiffer will not be included in the polls as they are each reclassifying from Division II and are not eligible championship honors this season.
Atop the USA South West Division poll was Covenant College, led by fifth-year head coach Joanna Ehman. The Scots earned the program's second consecutive USA South divisional championship last season. Covenant received 49 total points and seven first place votes in this year's preseason poll.
Placing second with 42 points and the final first place vote in the West Division was Maryville College. The Scots advanced to the USA South Tournament Semi-finals and ended their season with an 18-15 record. MC returns three of their four USA South All-Conference members in Kaitlyn Flickinger, Saidee McDaniel and Brianne Sidner.
Piedmont College followed in third place with 38 points. LaGrange College grabbed 29 points and the fourth position while Huntingdon College was in fifth with 27 points. Rounding out the poll were Agnes Scott College (17 points), Berea (15 points) and Wesleyan College (seven points).
Averett University, under the direction of 23-year Head Coach Danny Miller was picked to be the East Division favorite. The Cougars are the two-time defending USA South regular season divisional champions and advanced to the finals of the USA South tournament last season. Averett placed first in this year's preseason poll with 62 total points and six first place votes. Last year's USA South Tournament Champions, Meredith College, was second with 57 points and two first place votes. Placing third in the poll with 51 points and the final first place vote was William Peace University. In a tie at the fourth position was Greensboro College and N.C. Wesleyan College who each captured 33 points while Ferrum College followed in sixth with 29 points. Rounding out the poll were Methodist University (27 points), Salem College (24 points) and Mary Baldwin University (eight points).
The volleyball regular season gets underway on Friday, September 1 as ten League teams are in action.
The 2017 USA South Tournament will once again take place on campus sites. The top-six seeded teams from each division will advance to the tournament. The top-two overall seeds from each division will host first and quarterfinal matches on Tuesday, October 31. The winners of the quarterfinal contests will travel to the highest remaining seed who will host the semifinals and finals which will be played on November 3-4.