Golden Eagles volleyball picked fifth, Murray State preseason OVC favorite
Aug 11, 2009
Meffert, Kenline named to the preseason All-OVC
Despite returning the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year
and OVC Defensive Player of the Year from last season's OVC
championship team, the Tennessee Tech volleyball team has been
selected to finish fifth in the 10-team conference according to the
preseason poll of league coaches and sports information contacts.
The Golden Eagles received two first-place votes and 115 total
points, while preseason favorite Murray State received nine
first-place votes and 142 points in the balloting. Morehead State,
last year's regular season co-champion along with Tech, earned 136
points and five first-place votes followed by Southeast Missouri
with two first-place nods and 125 points. Austin Peay was picked to
finish just ahead of Tech, receiving 123 points and two first-place
votes. Jacksonville State (85 points), UT Martin (52 points),
Eastern Kentucky (49 points), Tennessee State (45 points) and
Eastern Illinois (29 points) round out the poll
"I may look at it differently, but I'm not surprised at all,"
said head coach and reigning OVC Coach of the Year John
Blair. "I think it's a fair pick for where we are and gives
us some motivation to outplay our pick."
The Golden Eagles finished 19-13 overall and 14-4 in the OVC a
season ago, capturing the conference tournament title and a share
of the regular season crown. Tech returns seven players from the
2008 team, including reigning OVC Player of the Year Leah Meffert
and OVC Defensive Player of the Year Katie Kenline. Meffert
overcame an early season injury last season to finish among the
conference leaders in kills and points, while Kenline led the OVC
with 558 digs from her libero position
"I think a lot of coaches look at what teams have returning, and
the loss of a four-year setter and two middles who were a large
part of our offense is a major blow, so I'm not suprised at all,"
Blair said. "Last year we weren't picked to win the conference
either, so we'll see what happens."
Murray State posted a 13-5 league record while going 18-13
overall to finish the regular-season in a tie for third place. The
Racers made it to the championship match of the OVC Tournament last
year where they fell to Tennessee Tech in five sets. Murray State
has four starters plus the libero returning to the team this
season. Among the returnees is the 2008 OVC Freshman of the Year
setter Jade Guo. A native of DaTong, China, Guo was third in the
league with 9.44 assists per set while also recording 2.19 digs per
outing last year. Junior middle blocker Sara Hayden will also be
back on the court for the Racers this season. The Louisville, Ky.
native led the league with a .336 hitting percentage, recording 290
kills as a sophomore.
Morehead State went 14-4 in the OVC while posting a 23-8 overall
record to earn a share of its eighth regular-season title in 2008.
The Eagles will have three starters plus the libero back from last
year. Junior outside hitter Kaitlin Craven and senior libero
Kristina Schoo are among the top returning players. Craven, a
native of Louisville, Ky., ranked among league leaders with 3.27
kills per set as well as 3.63 points each time out last year. A
product of Louisville, Ky., Schoo ranked third in the Conference in
digs (4.71 dps) and service aces (0.29 saps) last year.
Southeast Missouri is coming off a season in which it went 13-14
overall and 11-7 in the Conference to place fifth. The Redhawks,
who will bring back four starters plus their libero, will have the
league’s top returning setter in senior Sara Barth. The
Germantown, Ill, native was second in the league with 9.69 assists
per set. Junior outside hitter Claire Keaton is also among the top
returners. Keaton, who hails from St. Louis, Mo., ranked among
league leaders with 3.19 kills per set and 3.57 points per outing
The 64-member preseason All-OVC team features seven
student-athletes that were named to the All-OVC squad last year.
The first team is comprised of Tennessee Tech junior outside hitter
Leah Meffert (Louisville, Ky.) and senior libero Katie Kenline
(Ossian, Ind.); Murray State sophomore setter Jade Guo (DaTong,
Shanxi, China) and junior middle blocker Sara Hayden (Louisville,
Ky.); Jacksonville State senior outside hitter Brittney Whitten
(Boonville, Ind.); Austin Peay senior outside hitter Stephanie
Champine (Lambertville, Mich.); Morehead State junior outside
hitter Kaitlin Craven (Louisville, Ky.); and Southeast Missouri
junior outside hitter Claire Keaton (St. Louis, Mo.).
Receiving preseason All-OVC second team accolades are Southeast
Missouri senior outside hitter Karleigh DeLong (Corona, Calif.) and
senior setter Sara Barth (Germantown, Ill.); Murray State sophomore
outside hitter Logan Su (A La Shan Zuo Qi, Inner Mongolia, China);
Eastern Kentucky senior outside hitter Lindsey Loescher (Crystal
Lake, Ill.); Morehead State senior libero Kristina Schoo
(Louisville, Ky.); Jacksonville State junior middle blocker Caitlin
Vorbeck (Raytown, Mo.); Austin Peay senior opposite hitter Kirstin
Distler (Louisville, Ky.); and UT Martin sophomore outside hitter
Britany Wilburn (Southaven, Miss.).
The Golden Eagles kick off their 2009 season on Saturday, August
29 at the University of Tennessee and begin conference play three
weeks later on September 18 against Southeast Missouri.
2009 Preseason All-OVC Volleyball Team (as selected by OVC Head Volleyball Coaches and Sports
First Team Leah Meffert, Tennessee Tech
Brittney Whitten, Jacksonville State
Stephanie Champine, Austin Peay
Kaitlin Craven, Morehead State
Claire Keaton, Southeast Missouri
Jade Guo, Murray State Katie Kenline, Tennessee Tech
Sara Hayden, Murray State
Logan Su, Murray State
Lindsey Loescher, Eastern Kentucky
Karleigh DeLong, Southeast Missouri
Kristina Schoo, Morehead State
Caitlin Vorbeck, Jacksonville State
Kirstin Distler, Austin Peay
Sara Barth, Southeast Missouri
Britany Wilburn, UT Martin
Eight players appear on both teams due to ties.
2009 OVC Volleyball Predicted Team Order of
(as selected by OVC Head Volleyball Coaches and Sports Information