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BB 4/22 Cal PA 4-6
6-7
BB 4/23 Fairmont 5-15
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SB 4/23 Fairmont 0-8
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LX 4/24 St. Vincent 11-12
SB 4/25 Salem 2-0
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BB 12-25-0 (4-12-0)
SB 24-16-1 (17-9-1)
LX 4-8


 



Familiar Faces Top WVIAC Volleyball Coaches' Poll

PRINCETON, WV July 21, 2007 Same story, different year is the forecast by West Virginia Conference volleyball head coaches when they examine the race for the 2007 league championship. Charleston, Wheeling Jesuit, and West Virginia State, which combined for a 45-4 record in WVIAC action in 2006, are once again expected to be the dominant squads.

Charleston, which shared last season's regular season crown with rival West Virginia State, is the top pick. The Golden Eagles grabbed six first place votes in the voting. Wheeling Jesuit had five votes for the top spot and finished second in the balloting. Defending WVIAC Tournament champion West Virginia State placed third and garnered the remaining four first place votes.

WVIAC newcomer Seton Hill is fourth in the preseason rankings, while Shepherd slots in the fifth spot. Rivals West Virginia Wesleyan and Alderson-Broaddus are tied for sixth. Davis & Elkins is eighth and closes out the top half of the predicted order of finish.

Fairmont State, Glenville State, and Pitt Johnstown are in the ninth through eleventh spots. Ohio Valley, Salem International, Concord, West Liberty State, and Bluefield State round the rankings in the 16-member NCAA Division II conference.

Charleston (26-8, 15-1) returns three first team All-WVIAC honorees in Rebecca LaBrake, Katy Skelley, and Roslyn Adams. UC must replace setter Sam Meyer, the 2006 WVIAC Player of the Year, but Bren Stevens' Golden Eagles return 13 players from last season's WVIAC regular season co-champions.

Six starters are back at Wheeling Jesuit (20-16, 15-2). Senior captain Vanessa Lepore earned second team All-WVIAC honors as a libero in 2006. The Cardinals also expect plenty of offense from Brandi Sroka (Sr., MB), Caitlin Carey (Jr., OH), Catie Halberstadt (Soph., OH), and Jessica Castmore (Jr., RS).

West Virginia State (25-9, 15-1) made their first trip to the NCAA postseason last season after claiming the WVIAC Tournament crown. The Jackets must replace six key contributors from that squad, including 2005 WVIAC Player of the Year Taryn Haas and the school's career kills leader Leah Wilson. Blair Ruddle (Sr., OH), Kerri Kraus (Jr., MH), and Amanda Luedtke (Soph., MH) look to keep WVSU in contention.

Seton Hill (19-13) should make an immediate impact as the Griffins play a full NCAA Division II schedule for the first time. Veteran head coach Rick Hall has won 481 contests in 22 seasons at the SHU helm. Outside hitters Reigh Steban (Jr.) and Jessica Lesniewski (Sr.) pace the Griffin attack.

Shepherd (15-16, 12-5) could develop into a threat with a roster that does not include a senior. Sophomores Ashlee Allen (OH) and Emily McCoy (MH) are among the returnees on hand for the Rams.

Alderson-Broaddus (17-17, 12-5) lost four key seniors from last season's fourth place squad. Junior Sarah Neikirk is expected to assume a key role in the Battlers' attack.

West Virginia Wesleyan (16-13, 11-6) welcomes back all seven starters from 2006. Seniors Sara Collins (S) and Caitlyn Smyth (OH), along with junior Maria Broslawsky (MH/RS) are a talented trio for the Bobcats.

 

Expectations are high for a veteran Davis & Elkins (9-27, 7-10) side that has nine seniors on its roster. Second team All-WVIAC selection Ashlynn Nuckols (Jr., MH) ranked among the league leaders in hitting percentage in 2006. Jenn Pell (Sr., MH), Becky Vance (Sr., OH), and Haley Snyder (Soph., OH) should also contribute on offense for the Senators.

Long-time Fairmont State head coach Larry Hill needs only six wins to reach the 500 career victory mark. The Falcons (8-22, 8-11) suffered through an injury-riddled 2006 campaign. Senior outside hitter Staci Skinner is one of the top players in the region. An incoming class of nine rookies could make a splash for FSU.

New Glenville State (10-17, 9-8) head coach Jerry Gregg has plenty of talent on hand for his first Lady Pioneer squad. Second team All-WVIAC middle hitter Camai Roberson is one of the conference's most athletic players. Kim Wilson (Soph., S) and Lauren Saelens (Soph., OH/MH) were WVIAC All-Freshmen honorees last season. A winning league mark would give GSC their first back-to-back plus-.500 WVIAC seasons in program history.

Pitt Johnstown (17-12) should be solid in their first go-around in the WVIAC. The Lady Cats have 13 letterwinners back from last season's 17-win squad. Sophomore middle hitters Megan Lasut and Casey Jo Ritenour are a pair of standouts for UPJ.

Ohio Valley (7-29, 4-13) is led by senior outside hitters Kristan Ashbrook and Michelle Morrison. Senior Andrea Bokun (Sr., MH), a 2006 second team All-WVIAC pick, provides the power for Salem International (10-21, 6-11).

Concord (3-27, 3-13) should be vastly improved behind a strong freshman class. Former Wheeling Jesuit star Brooke Turner looks to engineer a turnaround at West Liberty State (1-26, 1-16) in her first year as the Toppers' head coach. Bluefield State (2-21, 0-16) suffered through a winless WVIAC campaign in 2006 and it appears another long year is in store for the Lady Blues.

2007 WVIAC Volleyball Coaches Poll:

1. Charleston (6)

231

2. Wheeling Jesuit (5)

224

3. West Virginia State (4)

215

4. Seton Hill

177

5. Shepherd

170

6. Alderson-Broaddus

165

6. West Virginia Wesleyan

165

8. Davis & Elkins

123

9. Fairmont State

117

10. Glenville State

109

11. Pitt Johnstown

100

12. Ohio Valley

75

13. Salem International

61

14. Concord

56

15. West Liberty State

35

16. Bluefield State

18

NOTE: Seton Hill is not eligible for the 2007 WVIAC volleyball championship. The Griffins will play a full league schedule and all contests will count in the conference standings. SHU will become eligible for the WVIAC championship in the 2008-09 season when the school becomes a full member of the NCAA Division II ranks.
 


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