BUFFALO, NY - The Mid-American Conference has announced its volleyball preseason poll on Tuesday morning and the Bulls were picked to finish second in the MAC East, receiving one first place vote. In addition, the MAC announced the preseason All-Conference teams, with junior Tahleia Bishop featured on the East Division squad.
The Bulls finished last season 18-12 and in a tie for seventh place in the MAC, but this year they bring in first-year head coach Reed Sunahara to run the show. The Bulls do return three of their top four hitters, led by Bishop, who set a personal best with 400 kills last season. She was named to the All-MAC First Team, joining fellow teammate Kelly Svoboda as the only two first team selections in school history.
UB received one first place vote in the preseason rankings, the only East Division school other than Ohio to have one. The Bobcats were picked to finish first in the East, followed by the Bulls. Bowling Green was picked third, followed by Miami, Kent, and Akron.
In the West, Ball State received seven first place votes, while Northern Illinois was picked to finish second, followed by Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, and Toledo.
In addition to her All-MAC selection last year, Bishop was also named honorable mention All-Region. She was chosen to play for Team Jamaica this past spring, where she helped her country to a bronze medal at the World Championship Qualifiers.
Bishop is joined on the East Division squad by Jelena Sunjic from Bowling Green, Jenny Ingle from Miami, and a trio of Ohio Bobcats in Karin Bull, Abby Gilleland, and Kelly Lamberti.
The West Division preseason All-MAC team features Kayley Benson and Alex Fuellig from Ball State, Kaitlyn McIntyre from Central Michigan, Mackenzie Roddy from Northern Illinois and Lexie Pawlik and Ave Stout from Western Michigan.
The Bulls open the season this weekend when they host the UB Invite. The Bulls will play their first match on Friday night vs. Lehigh at 7:00 pm.
2014 MAC East Order of Finish
(First Place Votes)
2014 MAC West Order of Finish
Ball State (7)
Northern Illinois (4)
Western Michigan (1)
2014 Regular Season Predicted Champion
Ball State (4)
2014 MAC Championship Predicted Champion
Northern Illinois (2)
Ball State (1)
2014 Preseason All-MAC East
Jelena Sunjic, Bowling Green
Tahleia Bishop, Buffalo
Jenny Ingle, Miami
Karin Bull, Ohio
Abby Gilleland, Ohio
Kelly Lamberti, Ohio
2014 Preseason All-MAC West
Hayley Benson, Ball State
Alex Fuelling, Ball State
Kaitlyn McIntyre, Central Michigan
Mackenzie Roddy, NIU
Lexie Pawlik, Western Michigan
Ave Stout, Western Michigan