Flagler Volleyball Ranked 16th Nationally in Preseason Poll
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Flagler College volleyball team
begins the 2012 season ranked No. 16 in the American Volleyball
Coaches Association’s Preseason Top 25 Poll.
The Saints closed out the 2011 season with its highest ranking ever, No. 14.
Flagler is the lone Peach Belt Conference member institution ranked in the top 25, but rival Armstrong Atlantic State University received 39 votes and just missed being ranked. Wingate University is the only other school in the Southeast Region as it earned a No. 21 ranking.
Defending national champion Concordia University of St. Paul, Minn., holds down the top spot. The University of Tampa comes in at No. 2 and is followed by California State University San Bernardino and the University of Nebraska Kearney and. The University of Central Missouri rounds out the top five.
The Saints posted a 31-7 overall record last year and went 13-1 in the conference for the third year in a row. Flagler has won or shared the Peach Belt’s regular season title in each of its first three seasons and has won the last three post-season tournament titles. The Saints have advanced to the Southeast Region championship match in their last three years and have won the crown twice (2009 and 2011). Flagler advanced to the elite eight where it fell to the host school, Cal State San Bernardino.
Brian Heffernan takes over the reigns of the highly successful program. He brings a wealth of coaching experience to St. Augustine and will look to have the team in the hunt for another chance at conference supremacy. The Saints return a strong nucleus, including first-team All-Peach Belt selection Crystal Niederriter as well as second-team honorees Dianna Craine, Casey Gnann and Emilee Taylor.
Flagler and Wingate meet in a re-match of last year’s regional final on Sept. 8 at Aiken, S.C. On Sept. 15, Flagler will take on No. 22 Rollins College at Savannah, Ga., the first of two meetings between the two schools. They will face each other again on Oct. 16 at Winter Park. Also on Sept. 15, the Saints will take on the No. 19 Tritons of Eckerd College. The Flagler’s home opener is Sept. 18 against No. 2 Tampa in a key region matchup.
Flagler opens the season Aug. 31 against Catawba College to open the first of two Armstrong Tournaments in Savannah.
See the complete poll here.