FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas volleyball team was voted to finish fifth in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division it was announced this week. The Razorbacks enter their second season under the direction of head coach Robert Pulliza in 2009. The team returns just five players from a year ago and welcomes seven newcomers as the season begins. “Any time you have a roster in which 10 of the 12 student-athletes are freshmen or sophomores it’s going to reflect in preseason rankings,” said Pulliza. “It’s always good to know what your opposition’s thoughts are about your team before the season gets underway, but ultimately, preseason rankings don’t mean anything.” Arkansas’ expectations are higher than the team’s projected finish. The Razorbacks are paced by a small, but experienced, group of returns led by senior starters Kristin Seaton and Lindsay Scanlan. Also returning are sophomores liberos Phoebe Bautista and Mackenzie Rhea and hitter Kelli Stipanovich. All three players were full-time members of the lineup last year. In addition, the Razorbacks added a lot of height and athleticism with the incoming class. Transfer Allison Johnson is listed at 6-3, and joined by a pair of 6-1 players, Amanda Anderson and Janeliss Torres-Lopez. Kendall Cleveland and Cassie Clarke check in just under the 6-0 mark with Jasmine Norton at 5-10. Katelyn McCarthy rounds out the list of newcomers and the libero is 5-7. The Razorbacks continue two-a-day practices until classes begin next week. Arkansas opens the season on the road traveling to the Texas Christian University tournament where they face the host Horned Frogs as well as Loyola Marymount and Grambling State. “We’re excited about our team and what they are doing and we can’t wait to get the season underway,” said Pulliza. Florida was selected to win the SEC title as well as the Eastern Division by a narrow, one-point margin over Kentucky. Tennessee was picked third in the East followed by South Carolina and Georgia. LSU was selected to win the Western Division followed by Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State. For more information about Arkansas volleyball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
2009 SEC Preseason Coaches Poll SEC Champion (First-place votes in parenthesis): Florida (7), Kentucky (3), Tennessee (1)
|Western Division||Eastern Division|
|LSU (10)||10||Florida (7)||16|
|Ole Miss||24||Kentucky (3)||17|