FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas volleyball team was selected to finish third in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in a vote by the league’s coaches.
Arkansas received on first-place vote and 45 points trailing LSU with eight first-place votes and 58 points. Alabama was picked second with 47 points.
The third-place selection was the lowest since Arkansas added volleyball in 1994. Arkansas has won a share of the divisional title 11 of the 12 years they have had a program.
“We’ll I think it’s a reflection of our youth in some positions,” said Arkansas head coach Chris Poole. “We have a lot of talented individuals and I think the conference – the country – is waiting to see if we can pull together as a team.”
Arkansas returns several key players from last year’s 21-12 NCAA Tournament participant team including seniors Amy Allison, Kele Brewer and Dentiza Koleva. In addition hitters Christina Lawrence and Jessica Dorrell along with libero Ashley Miller will be key in the Lady’Backs success.
Youth at the setting position, however, will be a factor. Sophomore Caira Daugherty and freshman Lindsay Scanlan will both have to step up and find the chemistry with the hitters for the Lady’Backs to win matches.
“Our setters have been doing a good job in practice,” said Poole. “We are excited to see how that translates into the game setting this weekend. We also need to get everyone back on the court. Then, the timing and chemistry will come.”
Arkansas has been hampered by little injuries that have kept players off the court in the pre-season drills. Brewer and Lawrence are both question marks for the weekend although both have been cleared.
Arkansas officially opens the 2006 season traveling to the Oklahoma Invitational Friday and Saturday. For more information please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.
Preseason Coaches Poll