After sharing an SEC Championship last season, Kentucky is the preseason pick to win the league in 2018 as well. It would only be fitting that the difference in voting between them and Florida was just three points though, as the Wildcats got eight of 13 team votes compared to five for Florida and notched 140 voting points to the Gators’ 137.
While Kentucky will technically go down as the preseason pick, it also shows how tight the race could be. In our Way-Too-Early 2018 VolleyMob Top 25 Power Rankings, Florida comes in at #7 with Kentucky at #9. Following them is Missouri, who has consistently been a threat and earned a shared title in 2016. They’ve also been to back-to-back Sweet 16s.
The biggest riser meanwhile compared to 2017 finish is South Carolina, who wound up in tied for 11th place but with key pieces back is expected to do more. Ole Miss on the other hand is the biggest faller. Another key difference is Auburn at 6th after ending 2017 tied for 7th – but they could be a sneaky dark horse. The top five is the same as the 2017 finish.
(More on the individual awards after this full list of the SEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll for 2018):
2018 SEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
In terms of the individual awards, Kentucky has more athletes than any other school after they etched three on the list – good for 33% of all preseason honorees. Additionally, none of the trio are seniors, with junior outside hitter Leah Edmond leading the way. She’s joined by fellow outside hitter Avery Skinner who is part of the sophomore class with another choice in setter Madison Lilley – who was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2017. They should make the Wildcats’ offense dominant in 2018.
Not only did Kentucky land three of the nine players, but no other team had more than one – even Florida. The Gators 2018 season will depend largely on highly recruited players either as newcomers or filling a bigger role, but 6’8″ middle Rachael Kramer leads the way.
An interesting trend, started with Kentucky, is that seven of the nine players are not seniors. That bodes well for the league’s future in addition to 2018. In fact, the largest classification on the list are sophomores, who landed four players with LSU’s Taylor Bannister and stat-stuffer T’ara Ceasar for Georgia.
As far as upperclassmen go, Hollann Hans will look to star once again at Texas A&M this season and is joined by fellow juniors Kramer and Edmond. The only seniors on the list are Alyssa Munlyn, who’s been a key cog for the Tigers since she was a freshman, and Mikayla Shields who is one of the top right sides in the league for the Gamecocks and will look to lead their turnaround.
The full preseason listing can be seen below:
|Rachael Kramer, Florida||MB||Jr.||6-8||Phoenix, Ariz.|
|T’ara Ceasar, Georgia||OH||So.||6-0||Panama City, Fla.|
|Leah Edmond, Kentucky||OH||Jr.||6-2||Lexington, Ky.|
|Madison Lilley, Kentucky||S||So.||5-11||Overland Park, Kan.|
|Avery Skinner, Kentucky||OH||So.||6-1||Katy, Texas|
|Taylor Bannister, LSU||MB/OH||So.||6-5||Missouri City, Texas|
|Alyssa Munlyn, Missouri||MB||Sr.||6-2||Suwanee, Ga.|
|Mikayla Shields, South Carolina||RS/OPP||Sr.||6-0||Orlando, Fla.|
|Hollann Hans, Texas A&M||OH||Jr.||6-1||Corpus Christi, Texas|