Joy Smith, Assistant Athletics Communications/Marketing Director
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Washburn volleyball team will start the 2019 campaign as the No. 4 team in the nation. The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) released its Division II Preseason Coaches Poll Tuesday afternoon with the Ichabods receiving 981 total points and two first-place votes.
The Ichabods turned in an impressive 2018 season with a record of 33-5 (15-3 MIAA) and reached the NCAA National Semifinal match in Pittsburgh, Penn. Washburn started the season with a 22 match winning streak and finished in the top-10 in many of the statistics categories.
In the NCAA rankings, the Ichabods were sixth in kills (1,846) and ninth in assists (1,716), while also ranking in the top-four in the conference in blocks, hitting percentage, kills, assists, digs, and service aces. Central Region Coach of the Year Chris Herron has 12 players returning from last season, including four All-MIAA first-team selections in Genna Berg, Allison Maxwell, Erica Montgomery, and Faith Rottinghaus.
Washburn is one of four MIAA teams listed in the top-25 poll. Nebraska-Kearney is No. 11, while Central Missouri checked in at No. 17, and Central Oklahoma will start the season ranked at No. 22. Reigning national champion Tampa tops the list followed by Cal State San Bernardino. Western Washington is ranked just ahead of Washburn at No. 3 and Concordia-St. Paul rounds out the top-five.
For the fifth-straight season, the Ichabods will start the season with four matches on their home court at the Washburn Invitational Sept. 6-7. Washburn will take on William Jewell at noon on Friday, Sept. 6, before facing Texas Woman’s University later that day at 6 p.m. The Ichabods will also play Quincy University and No. 23 Central Washington on Sept. 7. Washburn will head out to Durango, Colo., to take part in the Fort Lewis-hosted Skyhawks Tournament on Sept. 13-14. The following week will commence MIAA play as the Ichabods host Fort Hays State on Friday, Sept. 20.