For the fifth straight time, the Denver University Pioneers are the preseason favorite to claim the Summit League Championship.
In total, the Pioneers received seven of the nine first-place votes and 63 points in total. To go with their five-straight preseason picks, they’ve won the league four consecutive times in the regular and postseason. They also placed a trio on the ‘Players to Watch’ list, including last year’s league-leader in blocks (Emma Willis) and hitting percentage (Becca Latham).
Coming in as the runner-up is North Dakota, who nabbed a pair of first-place picks and 55 points in total. This will be their inaugural season in the conference after they won the Big Sky Conference in 2017. They were the lone other school to put three on the ‘players to watch list’ besides Denver.
Omaha and South Dakota were bunched right together in third and fourth at 44 and 43 points respectively. The former brings back 2017 Freshman of the Year Bella Sade while the latter had Anne Rasmussen notch over five digs per set.
Oral Roberts rounds out the top five as the runner-up from last season, but lose the conference’s 2017 player of the year in Laura Milos.
The full list of team projections and individual honors can be seen below via the Summit League:
2018 Summit League Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
|Rank||School||Points||2017 Record (SL)|
|1.||Denver||63 (7)||23-6 (12-2)|
|2.||North Dakota||55 (2)||30-8 (12-4, Big Sky)|
|4.||South Dakota||43||17-11 (10-4)|
|5.||Oral Roberts||33||15-14 (11-3)|
|T6.||Purdue Fort Wayne||31||12-19 (4-10)|
|T6.||North Dakota State||31||19-9 (9-5)|
|8.||South Dakota State||13||2-25 (0-14)|
|9.||Western Illinois||11||8-20 (3-11)|
Summit League Volleyball Preseason “Players to Watch”
Becca Latham | Denver | Outside Hitter | Senior
Emma Willis | Denver | Middle Blocker | Senior
Katarina Marinkovic | Denver | Outside Hitter | Junior
Jordan Vail | North Dakota | Middle Hitter | Senior
Kayla Williams | North Dakota | Outside Hitter | Junior
Ashley Brueggeman | North Dakota | Outside Hitter | Junior
Anna Blaschko | Omaha | Middle Blocker | Sophomore
Claire Mountjoy | Omaha | Defensive Specialist | Sophomore
Bella Sade | Omaha | Middle Blocker | Sophomore
Hayley Dotseth | South Dakota | Outside Hitter | Senior
Anne Rasmussen | South Dakota | Defensive Specialist | Junior
Bria Bergman | Oral Roberts | Setter | Senior
CeCe Madison | Oral Roberts | Outside Hitter | Junior
Nicole Rightnowar | Purdue Fort Wayne | Outside Hitter | Senior
Katie Crowe | Purdue Fort Wayne | Outside Hitter | Sophomore
McKenzie Burke | North Dakota State | Outside Hitter | Senior
Bella Lein | North Dakota State | Middle Hitter | Sophomore
Payton Richardson | South Dakota State | Middle Blocker | Senior
Ashlynn Smith | South Dakota State | Outside Hitter | Junior
Jaime Johnson | Western Illinois | Setter | Senior
Mackenzie Steckler | Western Illinois | Outside Hitter | Redshirt Sophomore