OVC Volleyball Preseason Poll

MurraySports

From Murray State Athletics...

With All-Ohio Valley Conference Preseason team selections Rachel Giustino, Rachel Holthaus, and Katirah Johnson, the Murray State volleyball team sits atop the 2018 OVC Volleyball Preseason Poll, the league announced Tuesday.

Voting for the OVC poll came from the head coaches and sports information contacts. Voters were not allowed to select their own team in the voting process.

In the poll, MSU edged out Austin Peay for the top spot with 230 points to the Governors' 227 points, despite having less first-place votes (10) than APSU (14). SIU Edwardsville was picked third followed by Eastern Kentucky, Belmont and Morehead State. Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois were picked seventh and eighth as Southeast Missouri, Tennessee State, UT Martin, and Tennessee Tech rounded out the poll.

The Racers had the most All-OVC selections with three followed by Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky with two apiece. Eastern Illinois, Morehead State, Tennessee Tech, Belmont, Jacksonville State, Tennessee State and SIUE each had one selection.

Under the guidance of Head Coach David Schwepker, Murray State is looking to win their fourth OVC championship in five years after winning three straight from 2014-16. The Racers finished third last season, but did advance to the OVC Tournament Championship match, ultimately falling in a tough five-set contest to Austin Peay. They return 12 players from last season's team, including 2017 All-OVC first team selections Giustino and Holthaus, and 2017 OVC Freshman of the Year Johnson.

Murray State opens the 2018 campaign, August 24-25 when they travel to New Orleans to take on Houston, Omaha and New Orleans. They continue to go on the road every weekend, traveling to Southern Illinois, Wyoming and St. Louis before opening conference play on the road against UT Martin, September 21. The Racers make their 2018 home debut, September 29, when they take on Eastern Kentucky.

The OVC Volleyball Championship features eight teams and will take place from November 15-17. The entire tournament will be hosted by the regular-season champion.

2018 OVC Volleyball Predicted Order of Finish
(Voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors)

 Murray State (10) 230
Austin Peay (14) 227
SIUE 193
Eastern Kentucky 175
Belmont 152
Morehead State 129
Jacksonville State 125
Eastern Illinois 112
Southeast Missouri 95
Tennessee State 58
UT Martin 56
Tennessee Tech - 32

2018 Volleyball Preseason All-OVC Team
(Voted on by the league's head coaches and sports information directors)

Kirsten Stucker, Austin Peay
Taylor Smith, Eastern Illinois
Chloe Rojas, Eastern Kentucky
Rachel Giustino, Murray State
Rachel Holthaus, Murray State
Katirah Johnson, Murray State
Cassie Knutson, Eastern Kentucky
Brooke Moore, Austin Peay
Lauren Rokey, Morehead State
Kirsten Brugere, Tennessee Tech
Alexa Nichols, Belmont
MacKenzie Rombach, Jacksonville State
Rachel Henderson, Tennessee State
Sami Knight, SIUE