FRISCO – The Southland Conference released its annual preseason poll on Monday with the Sam Houston State volleyball team picked to finish seventh in a vote of the league’s coaches and sports information directors.
The Kats finished seventh in the league a year ago, despite putting together a 10-6 record in conference play. They picked up 182 points in the poll, while defending champion Stephen F. Austin was selected as the preseason favorite and collected 14 of 26 first-place votes.
Central Arkansas hauled in 11 first-place votes of their own to be picked second, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was selected to finish third with 208 total points. Houston Baptist (201 points) and Abilene Christian (197 points) rounded out the top five, while Northwestern State (196 points) was picked sixth despite being awarded the final available first-place vote.
McNeese (156 points), UIW (97 points), New Orleans (90 points), Lamar (69 points), Nicholls (54 points) and Southeastern Louisiana (32 points) completed the poll.
Sam Houston returns a dozen letter winners from last season’s squad, including preseason first team all-SLC selections Taylor Cunningham and Jaclyn Ward. They will kick off the 2018 season this weekend when they host the Sam Houston State Tournament at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum on Friday and Saturday.
Play will kick off Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. with a match between Bethune-Cookman and Texas Southern before the Kats’ opening match at 6:30 p.m. vs Drake. Sam Houston will then battle Bethune-Cookman and Texas Southern on Saturday as part of a day that will include four total matches.