AVCA Division II National Preseason Poll
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's volleyball squad will open the 2013 campaign ranked among the nation's top 30 programs, according to the recent announcement of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Preseason National Poll.
The Bulldogs received 37 points in being listed fourth among other schools receiving votes in the top 25 listing or 29th overall in the national rankings. FSU was one of four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member schools to receive votes along with Northwood, Grand Valley State and Hillsdale.
Defending national champion Concordia-St. Paul took top honors in the poll with 1,188 total points and 43 first-place votes followed by Tampa, Nebraska-Kearney, Minnesota Duluth and BYU-Hawaii in the top five overall.
Ferris State officially opens its 2013 season on Friday, Sept. 6, with a pair of non-conference matches at the Ferris State Invitational in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs host California (Pa.) and Missouri-St. Louis in their first two matches of the tournament. FSU then concludes tourney play on Saturday, Sept. 7, with contests against Washburn (Kan.) and Cedarville (Ohio).
Overall, the Bulldogs are scheduled to play five of their first eight matches against teams either nationally-ranked or receiving votes in the first two weekends of action this fall.
Ferris State wrapped up the 2012 campaign with a 24-8 overall record and reached the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals for the second consecutive year. FSU also posted a 16-2 mark in GLIAC play and came within a single victory of claiming a second-straight conference championship.
The Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament three of the last four years to date.
Ferris State returns nearly 10 letterwinners for the 2013 season, including a pair of All-GLIAC selections in senior libero Brandie Merren (Hopkins) and junior outside hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central). A year ago, Merren was tabbed as the GLIAC's Libero of the Year and also a Daktronics All-Midwest Region First Team honoree.
The Bulldogs are guided by head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm, who will embark on her 18th year at the Bulldog helm and 21st season overall as a collegiate head coach.
The 2013 GLIAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll is slated to be announced on Tuesday.