@MUCrusadersVB 24th in NAIA Preseason Poll
Volleyball - Wed, Aug. 16, 2017
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LIVONIA, Mich. –The Madonna University volleyball team will begin their 31st season ranked 24th in the NAIA Women's Volleyball Coaches' Top 25 Preseason Poll, the national office announced Monday night.

Madonna, led by Head Coach Jerry Abraham who has coached all 31 teams in program history and is the winningest coach in the NAIA, collected 108 points in the poll and moved up one spot from their 2016 postseason ranking of 25. The Crusaders had an early exit from the WHAC tournament a year ago, but won their NAIA National Tournament Opening Round contest before falling in the pool play round at the national tournament final site.

The Crusaders, who lost three All-Conference selections from a year ago, will lean heavily on a strong senior class that features a pair of NAIA All-American hitters in Nicole Oestrike (SR/New Boston, Mich.) and Karlie Kelly (SR/Romeo, Mich.) as well as a first team All-Conference middle in Amanda Hawkins (SR/Livonia, Mich.). Lauren Korth (JR/Romeo, Mich.), an All-Conference junior setter also returns. The team has also added some talented freshman to help Madonna return to the top of the NAIA.

Cornerstone University is the highest rated WHAC program as the Golden Eagles received 265 points to rank 16th while Lourdes University came in at No. 22 with 182 points.

Defending national champion Hastings (Neb.) was a unanimous No. 1 selection as they received all 20 first-place votes to go with 560 total points. National runner-up Dordt (Iowa) was second with 539 points while Park (Mo.) (506), Midland (Neb.) (505) and Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (499) round out the top five.

Madonna opens the 2017 season against Spring Arbor University at 3 p.m. on Aug. 18 as part of the Concordia University Ann-Arbor Kick-Off Tournament.

The poll was voted on by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, Association of Independent Institutions and Unaffiliated Groups. For more on the poll methodology or to read the full NAIA release, click here.

RANK    WEEK     SCHOOL (FIRST PLACE VOTES)        2016 Record       Points

1                 1          Hastings (Neb.) (20)                                     33-3                560

2                 2          Dordt (Iowa)                                                 28-8                539

3                 4          Park (Mo.)                                                    36-4                506

4                 3          Midland (Neb.)                                              31-4                505

5                 5          Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)                                     35-2                499

6                 9          Viterbo (Wis.)                                               42-3                463

7                 7          Westmont (Calif.)                                          34-2                442

8                 8          Columbia (Mo.)                                            30-12               439

9                16         Corban (Ore.)                                               25-8                417

10              10         Grand View (Iowa)                                        31-8                406

11               6          Eastern Oregon                                            32-3                381

12              13         Missouri Baptist                                           21-11               355

13             RV        Northwestern (Iowa)                                    18-17               316

14              15         Montana Tech                                             25-11               285

15              12         Doane (Neb.)                                               25-10               270

16             RV        Cornerstone (Mich.)                                      32-9                265

17              20         Jamestown (N.D.)                                        26-14               261

18              17         MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)                       28-9                247

19              22         Georgetown (Ky.)                                        28-11               241

20              23         Bellevue (Neb.)                                           32-12               233

21              19         Indiana Wesleyan                                         35-4                220

22              18         Lourdes (Ohio)                                             27-7                182

23              21         Carroll (Mont.)                                              24-8                175

24              25         Madonna (Mich.)                                        31-10               108

25             RV        College of Idaho                                          20-10               100

Dropped from the rankings: Morningside (Iowa), Biola (Calif.) and Oklahoma City

Others receiving votes: Morningside (Iowa) 95, Union (Ky.) 75, Coastal Georgia 55, Ottawa (Kan.) 46, Texas Wesleyan 43, Northwest (Wash.) 34, Oklahoma City 30, Missouri Valley 27, St. Francis (Ill.) 26, IU Kokomo 25, Campbellsville (Ky.) 24, Marian (Ind.) 18, Mobile (Ala.) 3

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VOLLEYBALL
Record: 29-4 Home: 10-1 Away: 7-0 Neutral: 12-3 WHAC: 14-0