PDT Sports Report
Coaches around the Mid-South Conference are expecting another rise in the conference standings for the Shawnee State volleyball in 2013 as the Bears have been picked to finish fourth in the Mid-South Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll. The poll results are based on the voting of the 10 MSC volleyball head coaches. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams in the poll.
Georgetown, the MSC Regular Season Champions from a season ago, received seven of the 10 first-place votes and was picked as the conference favorite while Lindsey Wilson, the MSC Tournament Champion received the remaining three first-place votes and was slotted second. Campbellsville, the team that knocked Shawnee State out of the MSC Tournament a season ago, was picked third. In addition to Shawnee State, Rio Grande rounded out the top five teams in the poll.
Shawnee State will return four players (Hannah Gephart, Tiffany Jackson, Madison Smith and Kirsti Yates) that played in all 35 matches last season. In addition to those four, Ashley Galbraith, Carly Mazza and Paige Zelich each played in 32 or more of the team’s matches.
Yates enters her senior campaign as a two-time first-team All-MSC selection, earning those honors during her sophomore and junior seasons. She is climbing the Shawnee State record books in several categories. She is ranked second in program history in service receptions (1,941), second in digs per game (3.85) and third all-time in digs (1,552). She is also ranked second in total serves (1,255) and 10th all-time in service aces (91).
Zelich was also named honorable mention All-MSC last season after posting a team-high 247 kills with a .247 hitting percentage. Gephart was an honorable mention All-MSC selection in 2011. She enters her final season at Shawnee State ranked fourth on the all-time assists list (1,609), fifth in total serves (1,032), ninth in aces per game (.37) and 12th in total service aces (12).
This coming season will be the third for the Bears under head coach Susan Shelton. After serving in the interim role for the 2011 season, the Bears posted an 11-win turnaround in 2012 as they finished with an overall record of 22-13, including a 10-4 record in MSC play which placed them fifth in the regular season standings. This was the third-largest single-season turnaround in program history.
The 2013 volleyball season will get underway on August 23-24 when the Bears travel to Montreat for the Volley in the Mountains Tournament. After that opening weekend, conference play will begin on the road at Rio Grande on September 3. Fans wanting to see the Bears in the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium will have to wait on September 24 when the team plays St. Catharine.