Volleyball Picked Fourth in A-Sun Preseason Poll

Aug. 14, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University volleyball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason poll as voted on by the league's head coaches and released by the conference office today. Defending conference champion UCF received 9-of-12 first-place votes and is favored to repeat as A-Sun champions.

The Dolphins, who finished last season 8-17 overall, but recorded a 6-4 mark in A-Sun play to finish tied for fifth, return senior middle hitter Brooke Ahrens (Benson, Ill.), who led the team with 303 kills in 2001, and junior outside hitter Radka Dimitrova (Sofia, Bulgaria), who was second on the team with 291 kills. Also returning are seniors setter Kristin Withrow (St. Petersburg, Fla.), outside hitters Alesha Rodriguez (Cleveland, Ohio) and Kristy Smith (Carleton, Mich.) and sophomore outside hitters Kelly Ryals (Gainesville, Fla.) and Candice Rose (Mechanicsville, Md.).

A promising group of five newcomers could be the key to how far the Dolphins can go this season as freshman middle blocker Danielle Neville (Greenwood Village, Colo.) will be called on to contribute immediately. Setters junior transfer Melissa Bullion (Alvin, Texas) and freshman Erin Donivan (Sarasota, Fla.) and freshman outside hitters Amanda Fisk (Richland, Mich.) and Lindsay Ward (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) will compete for time at their respective positions.

UCF was followed closely by Georgia State, which received two first-place votes and Florida Atlantic, which received the other first-place vote. JU was followed by Samford, Troy State, Campbell, Jacksonville State, Belmont, Mercer, Stetson and league newcomer Gardner-Webb, respectively.

The Dolphins open the 2002 season by hosting Xavier, Eastern Washington and Eastern Michigan in the JU Invitational Aug. 30-31 at Swisher Gymnasium.

2002 Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll
Team (First-Place Votes)			Points
1. UCF (9)				        141
2. Georgia State (2)			        131
3. Florida Atlantic (1)			        121
4. Jacksonville				         92
5. Samford				         80
6. Troy State				         78
7. Campbell				         76
8. Jacksonville State			         67
9. Belmont				         45
9. Mercer				         45
11. Stetson				         39
12. Gardner-Webb			         21
Tournament Champion: UCF