LIVONIA, Mich. – The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference released its preseason coaches' poll for volleyball and Madonna University was picked to finish third. Head coach Jerry Abraham and his team collected 126 points, 10 behind Cornerstone University, who was picked to repeat as regular season champions, and six points behind second-ranked Lourdes, who has won the last two league titles, including a split with CU last season.
The Crusaders topped the WHAC East Division a year ago with a 14-2 league mark, finishing 31-10 overall. Madonna owns 14 league titles, a conference record, including 12 straight (1997-2008) and again in 2012 and 2013.
The Golden Eagles collected seven first-place votes in the poll after capturing their fifth title last season. The Gray Wolves collected the remaining five first-place tallies. Siena Heights University was rated fourth with 98 points followed by Indiana Tech, Aquinas, Lawrence Tech and UNOH to wrap up the top-8.
The Crusaders earned a trip to the NAIA National Tournament for the fifth consecutive season a year ago and return three All-Conference selections from 2016 and a pair of NAIA All-Americans in Karlie Kelly (SR/Romeo, Mich.) and Nicole Oestrike (SR/New Boston, Mich.). Madonna opens the 2017 slate with 11 non-conference contests spanning three tournaments beginning with the Concordia University Kick-Off tournament Aug. 18-19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The conference is divided into an East and West Division for the regular-season with Madonna being joined in the East by Indiana Tech, Lawrence Tech, Northwestern Ohio, UM-Dearborn and Marygrove. The West is comprised of Lourdes, Cornerstone, Siena Heights, Rochester, Aquinas and Concordia.
The preseason poll was based on votes from all head coaches in the conference.
Rank Institution 2016 Points
1 Cornerstone (7) 15-1 136
2 Lourdes (5) 15-1 133
3 Madonna 14-2 126
4 Siena Heights 8-8 98
5 Indiana Tech 11-5 91
6 Aquinas 7-9 84
7t Lawrence Tech 8-8 69
7t UNOH 5-11 69
9 Concordia 3-13 46
10 Rochester --- 35
11 UM-Dearborn 2-14 34
12 Marygrove 0-13 15
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