August 29, 2013

W&L, Randolph-Macon, Lynchburg All Receive First Place Votes in ODAC Poll

W&L, Randolph-Macon, Lynchburg All Receive First Place Votes in ODAC Poll

FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University picked up seven first place votes and 114 total points as the Generals lead the 2013 ODAC Volleyball Preseason Poll.  Randolph-Macon College received a pair of top nods and 109 tallies on the way to placing second, while Lynchburg College holds down third in the annual coaches' survey after securing three first place votes and 96 poll points.

The Generals returned to the winner's circle in 2012, capturing the program's first conference title since 2008 with a 3-1 victory over Lynchburg in Randolph-Macon's Crenshaw Gymnasium.  The victory marked an ODAC volleyball record 13th championship for W&L.

Both Washington and Lee and Randolph-Macon saw their seasons continue with berths in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament.  W&L, the ODAC's automatic entry, dropped a first round match to regional host Christopher Newport University, 3-0, eliminating the Generals from the remainder of the tournament.  The Yellow Jackets, who earned their tournament place via at-large selection, faired one game better.  R-MC topped Gallaudet University, 3-0, in the first round, but fell to the CNU Captains in a tight five-setter, 3-2, in round two.

Washington and Lee (26-10 overall, 10-1 in ODAC play in 2012) welcomes back several key contributors, including a trio of all-conference honorees.  Three-time All-ODAC First Team outside hitter M.A. Boles (355 digs, 40 aces) returns for her senior season after leading the league with 460 kills.  Senior setter Meghan Meleski (702 assists, 210 digs) and reigning ODAC Rookie of the Year, outside hitter Anna Lausberg (255 kills, 252 digs), were All-ODAC Second Team selections.  Sophomore setter Alex Kinzer (608 ast, 119 digs) paired nicely with Meleski in a dual-setter line-up.  Junior defensive specialist Kelly McManus (334 digs) adds support on the backline, while sophomore Maddie Kosar (130 kills, 207 digs, 41 aces) adds to the Generals' offense.

Reigning ODAC Coach of the Year Bill Rogers and Randolph-Macon (24-7, 11-0) return four all-conference performers from a season ago.  Junior middle hitter Tori Puryear (203 kills, 76 blocks) and senior libero Marli Dabareiner (492 digs) garnered first team recognition, while junior setter Bailey Troia (605 ast, 157 digs) and sophomore outside hitter Courtney Lowers (215 kills, 69 blocks) were tabbed to the All-ODAC Third Team.  Sophomore setter Riley Martin (542 ast, 156 digs) teamed with Troia to keep the offense humming, while Lowers, Puryear, senior middle Hilary Jessee (123 kills, 49 blocks) and sophomore middle Katie Rossberg (113 kills, 70 blocks) form a front-line that helped R-MC lead the ODAC with 225 total blocks.

Lynchburg (24-10, 8-3) looks to retool following the graduation of six key contributors.  Junior outside hitter Aricquel Payne (370 kills, 327 digs, 53 blocks) leads the offense after earning first team laurels in 2012.  Sophomore middle Sierra Strathy (177 kills, 37 aces) led the league in both total blocks (114) and blocks per game (1.02).  Junior hitter Brittany Crawford (181 kills, 230 digs) boosts the offense, while sophomore defensive specialist Samantha Page (211 digs, 35 aces) guards the backline.

Bridgewater College (18-15, 8-3) has three all-conference honorees in tow for the 2013 campaign.  Senior outside hitter Katie Long (330 kills) picked up second team accolades in 2012, while senior setter Lindsay Kallam (772 ast, 199 digs) and junior middle Megann Grimes (277 kills, 78 blocks) were tabbed to the third team.  Sophomore right side Maddy Carter (113 kills) also returns.

Virginia Wesleyan College (19-12, 8-3) will be led by senior hitter Tempe Martens (227 kills, 30 aces), who finished third on the squad with 275 kills in 2012.  Sophomore setter Kirstin Sessoms (236 ast, 114 digs) is the lead returning passer, while senior Mikaela Whitaker (206 digs) and sophomore Marin Crowder (173 digs) are back to guard the Marlins' end line.

Emory & Henry College (16-12, 6-5) welcomes back a pair of all-conference athletes.  Senior middle Nicole Tesh (279 kills, .289 hitting pct, 62 blocks) received third team honors, as did classmate and libero Kelly Mae Kerlin (340 digs).  Bolstering the offense is junior setter Maleah Neely (197 digs, 36 aces), who led the ODAC with 930 assists, and sophomore hitter Hannah Stewart (203 kills, 171 digs).

Roanoke College (16-15, 5-6) and Guilford College (9-18, 3-8) each return a set of solid contributors.  The Maroons are led by junior outside hitter Sarah Long (218 kills, 67 blocks).  Sophomore middle Allison White (189 kills, 126 digs, 62 blocks) adds punch to the front line, while sophomore Alexandra Martin (293 ast, 211 digs) is the top returning passer.  Sophomore Mackenzie Tyree (482 digs) adds protection along the end line.  The Quakers welcome back senior setter Taylor Whitley (614 ast, 184 digs), who collected third team honors in 2012.  She'll have plenty of offensive weapons to pass to as GC's top three hitters return in sophomore Kelsey Ruehling (235 kills, 231 digs), senior Malikah French (204 kills, 46 blocks) and junior Brittany DeCesare (183 kills, 184 digs, 36 aces).

Shenandoah University (13-16, 4-7) and Randolph College (9-23, 2-9) also feature experienced athletes.  SU welcomes back their top hitter in senior middle Haley Smith (220, 78 blocks).  She's joined on the front line by junior middle Samantha Schambach (143 kills, 46 blocks) and sophomore outside hitter Blake Parkes (88 kills, 387 ast, 167 digs).  The WildCats' top three scorers combined for 768 kills in 2012, and all three return for another go-round.  Juniors Jordan Templin (312 kills, 348 digs, 35 aces) and Grayce Darden (215 kills, 53 blocks) are joined at the net by sophomore Celine Rhodes (241 kills, 102 ast, 46 aces).  Junior libero Lexi Harrington (450 digs) adds defensive support.

Hollins University (9-24, 1-10) and Eastern Mennonite University (4-19, 0-11) are poised for a move up the conference ladder.  HU's offense is led by junior middle Lauren Hays (252 kills, 91 blocks) and sophomore outside hitter Haley Ortiz (181 kills, 327 digs).  Sophomore setter Lela Moore (770 ast, 200 digs) keeps the ball moving.  The Royals look to senior middle Rachel Kennel (162 kills) on offense, while sophomore defensive specialist Katie Miller (374 digs) patrols the backline.

The 2013 volleyball season begins on Friday, August 30, with ODAC schools in action against non-conference opponents.  For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com.  Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter.

2013 ODAC VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes first place votes

1. Washington and Lee (7)

114 pts.

2. Randolph-Macon (2)

109 pts.

3. Lynchburg (3)

96 pts.

4. Bridgewater

89 pts.

5. Virginia Wesleyan

86 pts.

6. Emory & Henry

75 pts.

7. Roanoke

53 pts.

8. Guilford

50 pts.

9. Shenandoah

47 pts.

10. Randolph

32 pts.

11. Hollins

22 pts.

12. Eastern Mennonite

19 pts.