Colorado College volleyball team ranks 7th in AVCA preseason poll

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Colorado Springs, Colo. If the history of the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Division III Preseason Coaches Poll stays true to form, the Colorado College volleyball team is in prime position to challenge for the 2019 national championship.

The Tigers are ranked No. 7 in this year’s preseason poll, the position that has produced the second-most champions (4) since the AVCA first released its preseason rankings in 1992. Only the No. 5 spot, with four champions, has produced more.

CC, which returns five starters and its libero from last year's team that finished with a 32-3 record, was ranked in the preseason poll for the 11th season in a row and 12th time overall.

Joining the Tigers in the top seven are defending national champion Emory University, which earned the first slot with 1,650 points. The Eagles were followed by Calvin College (1,613), Juniata College (1,500), University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1,417), Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1,364) and Wittenberg University (1,317).

Colorado College received 1,258 points and the Tigers have finished higher in the final rankings than in the preseason poll in three of the last six years.

CC has been a fixture in the AVCA poll during the last 11 seasons, making 123 consecutive appearances since finishing the 2008 season at No. 22.

In 2017, the Tigers were ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history and finished the year at No. 4, which also is a program best.

Colorado College is led by four highly-decorated seniors.

Middle hitter Marguerite Spaethling was named a second-team All-American, the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection.

Setter Lizzy Counts earned third-team All-America honors, and was joined on the all-SCAC first team by outside hitter Haley Harris.

Outside hitter Jordan Mullen was slowed by injuries last year, but the 2017 honorable mention All-American hopes to be back at full strength this season.

Colorado College kicks off the season with the CC Classic on Friday, Aug. 30, with matches against Millsaps College and Clarkson University.

Colorado College begins its defense of its SCAC regular-season crown with four matches in Shreveport, La., on Sept. 20 and 21. The Tigers open against the University of Dallas and weekend host Centenary College on Friday, and face Schreiner University and Southwestern University the next day.

The Tigers will attempt to win their third SCAC tournament crown Nov. 8-10 at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas.

If Colorado College makes it three in a row for the second time in program history, the Tigers will earn their 22nd consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship.