Lions volleyball tabbed fourth in the SSC preseason poll

Lions volleyball tabbed fourth in the SSC preseason poll

WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Saint Leo University volleyball team has been selected to finish fourth in the 2014 Sunshine State Conference preseason poll as voted on by the conference coaches. 

Lions head coach Sam Cibrone is set to begin his eleventh season at the helm, a year removed from a third-place SSC finish. The Green and Gold return four starters as Tawni Warren and Lauren Campbell enter their senior seasons.  All-SSC Newcomer selections, Alexa Griffith-Hardy and Yaidimar Santiago also return for their senior seasons of play.

The Tampa Spartans have won at least a share of the last nine SSC volleyball titles, including the last two SSC Championships outright with a combined 32-0 conference record. On Wednesday, Tampa was voted as the 2014 SSC preseason favorite for the sixth consecutive season.

The Spartans picked up 64 points in a preseason poll conducted among the conference head volleyball coaches. Tampa also collected eight of the nine first-place votes.

Florida Southern, who finished their 2013 campaign tied for third in the SSC standings, was tabbed second in the preseason poll with 52 points and received the remaining first-place vote. The Moccasins edged Eckerd for the second spot. The Tritons received 50 points to be placed third. However, Eckerd has finished runner-up the last three years.

Following the Tritons in the preseason poll was Saint Leo (44 points), Rollins (34 points), Lynn (28 points), Barry (21 points), Florida Tech (20 points) and Nova Southeastern (11 points), respectively.

Tampa returns five starters from its 2013 national quarterfinalist squad. The Spartans return All-American and reigning SSC Player and Newcomer of the Year Berkley Whaley. Also returning are All-Americans Meagan Burke and Marissa Lisenbee. Junior Jessica Wagner and senior Kahley Patrick also return.

Florida Southern returns four of its starters plus its libero and All-SSC First Team honoree Catherine Brusie. Joining Brusie is All-SSC Second Team honoree Kendall Marotti and SSC Freshman of the Year and All-Newcomer Brindl Langley.

Tampa begins the 2014 season with a No. 2 national ranking for the third-straight season. Eckerd and Florida Southern received votes in the AVCA national preseason poll.

2014 Sunshine State Conference Preseason Volleyball Poll

Rank – Team, Points (1st-place votes)
1 – Tampa, 64 (8)
2 – Florida Southern, 52 (1)
3 – Eckerd, 50
4 – Saint Leo, 44
5 – Rollins, 34
6 – Lynn, 28
7 – Barry, 21
8 – Florida Tech, 20
9 – Nova Southeastern, 11