The USA South Athletic Conference's volleyball coaches have released their 2018 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.
Meredith College, under the direction of Head Coach Fiona Barkley, was picked to be the East Division favorite. The Avenging Angels will look to capture their first regular season title since 2014 as last fall Meredith finished third in the East Division standings with a 12-4 League mark. Meredith accumulated 59 points and four first place votes in this year's preseason poll which was one point more than defending East Division champion, Averett University, who also collected four first place votes. The final first place vote was grabbed by third place finisher William Peace University.
Atop the USA South West Division poll was Covenant College, led by head coach Joanna Ehman. The Scots earned the program's third consecutive USA South divisional championship last season to go along with the second tournament title in three years. The Scots became the first USA South team to collect a NCAA Tournament win in five years as they advanced to the second round. Covenant received 49 total points and seven first place votes in this year's preseason poll ahead of Maryville College who nabbed the final first place vote.
The No.2 ranked Scots of Maryville look to improve on their 17-13 mark earned in 2017. Under the direction of Kandis Schram, Maryville went 9-3 in USA South play placing second in the league's western division in Schram's 32nd season. Look for All-USA South performers Brianne Sidner, Dejane Hester-Taylor, and Saidee McDaniel to set the pace for a successful campaign this fall.
"We hope our tradition on the court is sustained by five outstanding freshmen and a returning group eager and anxious to get better every day," stated Coach Schram. "I can't wait until I see this group get on the court and show their passion for the sport."
MC opens their season on August 31st in Atlanta set to challenge Whittier College from California on the campus of Emory University.
The USA South welcomed Brevard College and Pfeiffer University last season as institutions reclassifying from NCAA Division II status. This year each of their teams are included in the preseason poll and eligible for regular season championship honors. Both Brevard and Pfeiffer still will not be eligible to qualify for the USA South Tournament and/or the NCAA Tournament until full NCAA Division III membership is established.
The 2018 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 30. 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 2-3.