Princeton, WV – Wheeling Jesuit, which has won the last three regular season championships and four WVIAC Volleyball Tournaments, is picked to win the 2012 league title as voted on by the conference coaches.
The Cardinals registered 224 total points on 13 first-place nods and one second-place ballot. Alderson-Broaddus was selected second with 192 total points. The Battlers registered second-place tallies on eight ballots. Seton Hill rounded out the top three after earning 178 points. The Griffins were chosen second on four ballots and third on four more.
Shepherd is fourth in the poll after totaling 172 points. The Rams picked up one first-place vote and two third-place nods. West Virginia Wesleyan held down the fifth position with 163 points. The Bobcats had two third-place and three fourth-place votes.
Fairmont State earned 154 points, edging Charleston which tallied 153. The Falcons, selected sixth, garnered two third-place votes. The Golden Eagles were predicted to finish second on two ballots and third on another.
West Virginia State was chosen eighth in the poll, just two points ahead of Pitt-Johnstown. The Yellow Jackets were picked in the top five by four coaches while the Lady Cats were in the top five on two ballots.
Concord rounds out the top 10 after earning 88 total points. Davis & Elkins was predicted to finish 11th in the poll after picking up 76 points. The Hilltoppers of West Liberty were right behind them with 74 points.
Ohio Valley garnered 49 points while Glenville State had 38. Bluefield State completed the preseason poll with 15 total points.
Four-time defending WVIAC Tournament Champion Wheeling Jesuit boasts another strong team heading into the 2012 campaign. Jenna Pew and Allissa Ware each earned All-America accolades. Pew led the league in hitting percentage while Ware was third. Ware was also second in the WVIAC in kills and Pew eighth. Pew also blocked 1.13 attempts per set. The pair looks to lead the Cardinals to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight once again.
2011 WVIAC Tournament runner-up Alderson-Broaddus has another squad that will challenge for the WVIAC Championship. The Battlers return Jillian Brown, who led the conference in aces a season ago. Ashley MacDonald will also play a huge role in A-B’s success. She posted a team-best 2.26 kills per set in 2011.
Seton Hill’s standouts include Christina Donahoe and Corrine Gahagen. Donahoe was solid in 2011 along the back line and at the net. She posted 125 digs and 28 blocks. Gahagen registered a team-best 2.67 kills per set to go along with 30 aces and 135 total blocks. She was third in the WVIAC in blocks per set (1.02).
Shepherd returns a tremendous pair in Meg Kenny and Melani Lewis. Kenney slammed home 2.46 kills per set in 2011 while chipping in 79 total blocks. Her .308 attack percentage was fifth in the league. Lewis was great at the net, tallying 97 total blocks in addition to 1.92 kills a set.
WV Wesleyan’s team boasts standouts Renata Comparini and Casey Pattyn. Comparini was fourth in the WVIAC with 4.65 digs per set. Pattyn dished out 1,018 assists on the season. Her 9.25 assists per set were second in the league.
Fairmont State’s squad has no seniors on the roster. The Falcons return an abundance of playmakers. Bri Swann led the WVIAC with 3.95 kills a set last year. Amber Wilson’s .287 attack percentagewas ninth best in the league while Leslie Giordon had a solid all-around campaign.
Charleston features a pair that will help guide the Golden Eagles. Ashley Douglas was fourth in the WVIAC with .37 aces per set last year. Defensively, she posted 3.94 digs per set. Brenna Youlton’s role will increase this year. She posted 1.78 kills per set and registered 84 total blocks in 2011.
WV State returns its top two hitters in Alyssa Graboski and first-team all-conference selection Cameron Lewis. Graboski hammered home 2.99 kills per set and averaged .88 blocks per game. Lewis totaled 2.83 kills per set and had 74 total blocks on the year.
Pitt-Johnstown sports many players with an abundance of experience on the squad. Leading the way is Nikki Oakes and Tayler Vebares. Oakes led the Lady Cats with 418 assists and 44 aces in 2011. Vebares hammered home 1.74 kills per set. She was also strong defensively, registering 53 total blocks.
Concord’s standouts include Sarah Jones and Amanda Walker. Jones posted a team-best 244 kills on the season and was third on the squad with 18 aces. She also posted a team-best 119 total blocks on the year. Walker led the squad with 203 digs on the year.
Davis & Elkins has Meaghan Emery and Heather Zapf in the mix this season. Emery tallied 488 digs on the year to go along with 28 aces. Zapf led the squad with 2.63 kills per set. She also gave opponents fits at the net, totaling 50 blocks.
West Liberty features Anne Edwards and Rachel Zeigler. Edwards was 10th in the WVIAC with a .280 attack percentage a season ago. She also contributed .66 blocks per set. Zeigler, who earned all-freshman team honors in 2010, notched 1.71 kills per set last year.
Ohio Valley returns a pair that could help the squad make the WVIAC Tournament. Taylor Buchtmann was spectacular defensively, registering 4.40 digs per set (458 on the season). Jessica Simpson should continue to build off her solid play from a season ago. In 2011 she had 308 assists, 22 aces and 52 blocks.
Glenville State returns senior Rikki Butler and junior Heather Stout . In 2011, Stout garnered 1.49 kills per set, had 16 aces and 57 blocks. In addition to Stout’s play, transfer Natalie Baumgartner will have a big role in the team’s success.
Bluefield State returns Courtney Bowlus. She played in 63 sets a season ago and garnered a lot of experience in 2011. Bowlus was solid on the defensive end, posting 1.27 digs per set for the Lady Blues.
Place Team (First-place votes) Total Points
1. Wheeling Jesuit (14) 224
2. Alderson-Broaddus 192
3. Seton Hill 178
4. Shepherd (1) 172
5. West Virginia Wesleyan 163
6. Fairmont State 154
7. Charleston 153
8. West Virginia State 113
9. Pitt-Johnstown 111
10. Concord 88
11. Davis & Elkins 76
12. West Liberty 74
13. Ohio Valley 49
14. Glenville State 38
15. Bluefield State 15