Women's Volleyball Pegged Third In GLIAC Poll
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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's volleyball squad has been pegged third in the 2011 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Preseason North Division Coaches Poll announced by the league office on Thursday (Aug. 25).
This year's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) race is promising to be as hotly-contested as ever. This fall, the GLIAC coaches have picked Hillsdale as the top team in the South Division and Northern Michigan as the first-place team in the North Division – by just a narrow two-point cushion over second-place Grand Valley State University. That is consistent with the way things are shaping up for the GLIAC on the national stage as the Chargers, Wildcats and Lakers were ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) preseason top 25 poll. GVSU is ranked eighth, Hillsdale 10th and Northern Michigan 25th in the national listing.
In the North Division, the Wildcats earned the first-place spot with 34 points, Grand Valley State placed second with 32, Ferris State was third with 25, Saginaw Valley State was slotted fourth with 22, Northwood was tabbed fifth with 15, Lake Superior State was sixth with 10 and Michigan Tech was seventh with nine.
In the South Division, the Chargers were picked to finish first with 36 points. In second place, with 29 points, was Ashland. Wayne State came in third with 26 points, Findlay took fourth with 23, Tiffin was fifth with 15, Ohio Dominican placed sixth with an 11-point total and Lake Erie College wound up seventh with seven.
Last fall, Hillsdale finished the 2010 undefeated in league play and ended the season 29-2 overall. They won the South Division title in the regular season and claimed the tournament as it went on to be crowned the overall league champion.
Ferris returns 11 letterwinners, including four starters plus its primary libero, from a season ago. The Bulldogs welcome back 58.3 percent of their kills production from the 2010 campaign which features three of the squad's top four leaders in kills. The Bulldogs have an experienced leadership group that is ready to make the 2011 campaign its year to put it all together and lift the team to regular-season and post-season success on the court.
The Bulldogs will put three 2010 All-GLIAC performers on the court in senior outside hitter Ashley Huntey, senior libero Lisa Tobiczyk, and junior setter Samantha Fordyce. Huntey and Tobiczyk, who each claimed All-GLIAC Honorable Mention accolades in 2009, received second-team all-conference recognition in 2010, while Fordyce earned honorable mention laurels. The trio is ranked among the program's all-time best as Huntey is listed 17th in career digs (885) and 31st in kills (685) while Tobiczyk ranks eighth in digs (1,256) and is 28th in service aces (102). Fordyce, who enters the 2011 season ranking seventh on FSU's all-time charts with 2,337 career assists, directs the Ferris State offense and finished 2010 listed 41st nationally in assists per set (10.15 avg.). The three along with junior OH and returning starter Aly Brecht will serve as team captains this fall.
Head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm starts her 16th season directing the Bulldogs and will be assisted by first-year coach Jesse Ortiz, who spent the last four seasons (2007-10) at NCAA Division II Sonoma State in California. Brandel-Wilhelm needs 24 more victories to move into a tie with Jill Hirschinger (1984-95; 330-151 record) as the Bulldogs' all-time winningest coach.
Ferris State has compiled 13 consecutive winning seasons to date after compiling an 18-10 overall record for the 2010 season. The last non-winning season occurred in 1997 (14-18 overall record).