Cal Lutheran Earns First in Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll

Cal Lutheran Earns First in Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll

PASADENA, Calif – California Lutheran University has been selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2016 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) regular season championship in women’s volleyball. In a poll of the 9 SCIAC head coaches, the Regals received a total of 11 points and seven first-place votes.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges placed second in the poll with 16 points and two first place votes, while the University of La Verne is picked to finish third in the conference standings this fall collecting 33 points. 

Whittier College (38 pts), Pomona-Pitzer Colleges (42), Chapman University (53), Occidental College (62), University of Redlands (69) and the California Institute of Technology (81) round out the poll. 

The Regals are coming off of a 31-5 season with a 14-2 conference record that culminated the NCAA DIII National Championship Title in 2015. The six-time defending SCIAC champions are eager to return to action with 2015 SCIAC Athlete of the Year Michelle Lawrence (Sr, RS) and 2015 SCIAC Newcomer of the Year Amanda Roberts (So, OH). Lawrence was named Most Outstanding Player West Region, Second Team All-America, and was named to the NCAA Division III All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the National Championship tournament. Sarah Pappas (Jr, MH) will return with AVCA All-West Region and All-Conference honors. Pappas tallied a season-high 14 kills on three separate occasion in 2015 and set a career-high with nine total blocks in a 3-1 victory over Chapman on Oct. 27, 2015.

Coach Kurt Vlasich's Athenas look to be a formidable opponent once again in the highly competitive SCIAC.  Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tied for first after the regular season competition in 2015 matching Cal Lutheran’s 14-2 mark. In three straight sets CMS earned the Athenas first Postseason Tournament Title. The season ended in the semifinal round of the NCAA Regional Tournament against Washington University (MO). The most decorated returner for the Athenas is Nicole Kerkhof (Sr, OH) who earned All-Conference, All-Region and All-America team honors in 2015. The four juniors will return to the depth of the squad are All-Conference team members Mikena Werner (Lib), Margaux Arntson (Opp), Mariah Rigg (MB) and Clara Madsen (S). 

The University of La Verne finished third in the standings last season with an 13-3 conference mark and a 20-8 record overall.  The Leopards ended their season with a 3-0 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first round of the 2015 SCIAC Postseason Tournament. La Verne will return All-Conference honoree Kelsi Robinson (Sr, MB) from last season's team.  Robinson also earned All-Region and All-American nods. The Leopards return two additional senior stand-outs in Cassie Thompson (MB) and Tiffany Mancuso (S).

The full women’s cross country rankings can be found below:

Rank

Institution

Total Points

1

California Lutheran University

11

2

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

16

3

University of La Verne

33

4

Whittier College

38

5

Pomona-Pitzer Colleges

42

6

Chapman University

53

7

Occidental College

62

8

University of Redlands

69

9

California Institute of Technology

81


Regular season volleyball action opens up on September 13th when Whittier travels to Cal Lutheran. The rest of the teams will be in action throughout the rest of the week. The 2016 SCIAC Women's Volleyball Postseason Tournament will be held on November 3 and  5, 2016.

The preseason poll rankings were conducted by the SCIAC women's volleyball coaches with each coach predicting the finish of the 2016 season. This is the first year the SCIAC has held preseason polls and they are now planned to become a part of the preseason for all 21 conference-sponsored sports moving forward.