Alma, Mich. - The Alma College women's volleyball team has been picked to finish sixth in the MIAA this season according to the conference's preseason coaches poll, which was released on Thursday (August 23).
Calvin tops the poll having won the conference last year - the Knights received eight of nine first-place votes. Hope is second in the poll with the remaining first-place vote. Albion, Saint Mary's and Trine are the final teams ahead of the Scots. Adrian, Kalamazoo and Olivet round out the poll in the seventh through ninth.
"The girls have been working extremely hard this preseason, with a new energy and hopefulness for our season to come," said Head Coach Alex Leja. "As coaches, we know we have a special group of girls; they are talented, but even more so in who they are as people. The dynamic in the gym is different this year and we are excited to see what will come of it!"
Alma graduated three seniors from last year's 8-16 season. It returns 11 players and adds eight newcomers.
"Though we only have 6 upperclassmen, and our roster is predominantly young, the leadership from our older girls has been phenomenal. They have each proven to be selfless teammates, leaders on and off the court, and have committed to making this team a priority. We have a solid incoming class, and I foresee a good amount of varsity action from that class. Overall, the adjustments to the speed and level of technicality have been an awesome challenge for them, and they are making great strides each practice to build off of."
Alma returns its top two point-getters in junior Georgia Miller (Georgetown, Ky. / Scott County) and senior Katie Bush (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell). It also brings back sophomore Haley Novak (Midland, Mich. / Bullock Creek), who came within two kills of a triple-double three separate times last season.
Alma begins the season on August 31 in the Buc Blast Tournament in Beloit, Wis. It will play Eureka and Rockford on the first day, followed by Beloit and North Central (Minn.) on Sept. 1. The Scots play just four home games this season, the first coming on Saturday, Sept. 22 against Kalamazoo. They will play their last five games on the road before the beginning of the MIAA Tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 30.