ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The Union College volleyball team is slated to finish second according to the 2014 Appalachian Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, which was released on Monday evening.
The Bulldogs, who finished the 2013 season with a 26-9 overall mark (17-3 in the AAC), garnered 101 total points in the poll, while collecting two first place votes. Union fell just short of defending AAC Regular Season and Tournament Champion Bryan (Tenn.), who was first in the poll with 108 total points and eight first place votes.
Last season, the Bulldogs and Lions split the regular season series, with both teams winning on their respective home courts. But, in the AAC Tournament Championship game, Bryan came out on top in the rubber match, taking a 3-0 decision to win their second straight AAC Tournament title.
Rounding out the top five in the Coaches' Poll are Columbia (84 points), Milligan (79 points) and Reinhardt (69 points). Montreat leads the rest of the pack with 64 points, while St. Andrews (42 points), Tennessee Wesleyan (40 points), Bluefield (30 points), Point (28 points) and Truett-McConnell (15 points) makes up the rest of the poll.
Union, led by second year head coach Jeremy Wise, returns 11 players from last years team that saw playing time. Leading the group is senior Paige Moore (SR/Louisville, Ky.), an All-AAC and AVCA All-Northeast Region First Team selection a season ago, and junior Ana Calaza (JR/Rio de Janerio, Brazil), who was also an All-AAC First Team pick, along with garnering the league's Libero of the Year award, as well.
The Bulldogs open their 2014 campaign on Aug. 22 at the Aces in August Tournament in Rio Grande, Ohio. On that date, the Bulldogs will take on both Taylor (Ind.) and Lourdes (Ohio) to kick-off their season.