Thomasville, NC- The Lees-McRae College volleyball team class of 2006 is poised to end their collegiate careers winning their fourth straight CVAC Tournament championship.  This run has led them back to the top spot in the 2006 CVAC Volleyball Pre-Season Poll as voted on by CVAC head coaches. They will be returning CVAC Tourney MVP and All-CVAC 1st team member Lacie Smith, along with All-CVAC 2nd team members Amanda Huffaker and Olivia Luce.

          The Lady Bobcats (29-11, 18-2 CVAC) return all but two players from the 2005 squad that made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.  Gone is former co-captain Bridget Thornton as well as setter Valia Petrova.  However, with the strong leadership from an experienced senior class and a talented incoming freshman class, the Lady Bobcats appear ready to continue their streak in the CVAC Tournament Championships. Outside hitter Tiarra Pendleton and middle blocker Katie-Marie Legg were teammates in high school and hope to build their chemistry at the net for the Lady Bobcats as freshman.  Trisha Reese and Lauren Dickover are both setter/defensive players to keep an eye on, while junior transfer Daviana Metti is also a welcomed addition at outside hitter and middle blocker. 

          Head Coaches around the league voted Mount Olive to fill the second spot in this year’s coaches poll.  Mount Olive returns three All-Atlantic Region players from a squad that captured their first-ever CVAC regular season title (28-8, 19-1 CVAC) last year and advanced to the NCAA II Atlantic Regional for the second year in a row. The Trojans will be led by senior outside hitter Anna-Marie Luft who is a two-time All-CVAC 1st team selection and a two-time All-Region honoree. Junior outside hitter Sam Mitchell was also named to the All-CVAC first team & All-Region team in 2005.  Also senior libero Nikki Murphy made her first appearance last year on the All-Region Team. While Trojan record holders Heidi Busch, Sara Christie and Colby Mangum will be missed, head coach Sasha Gutor has brought in a crop of newcomers with championship experience at the high school, junior college, and club levels.

          Coker College ranked third in the poll and is geared-up and ready for a strong 2006 season after finishing a school best third place in last years regular season before falling to Pfeiffer in the semi-finals of the CVAC tournament in a five game match. Coach Chuck Mullen is looking forward to a successful season with a great deal of depth and the return of his entire 2005 roster, minus All-CVAC performer Andrea Manuel. Mullen will be looking for leadership out of his four seniors along with junior All CVAC 2nd Team hitter Margaret Madison, junior defensive specialist Natalie Schembra, and sophomore libero Kelsey Carlson. The Lady Cobras are joined by five newcomers, four freshmen and a junior college transfer.


          Rounding out the poll 4-10 was:  Converse, Anderson, Limestone, Belmont Abbey & Pfeiffer (tied), St. Andrews, Barton, and Queens respectively. 


CVAC Volleyball Preseason Poll (# of First Place Votes in Parenthesis)

1. Lees-McRae                                (6)      14

2. Mount Olive                                 (2)      24     

3.  Coker                                         (1)      32

4. Converse                                    (1)      35

5. Anderson                                              53     

6.  Limestone                                   (1)      54

T-7 Belmont Abbey                                     76

T-7 Pfeiffer                                               76

9.  St. Andrews                                          77     

10. Barton                                                 78

11. Queens                                                86

11. Queens                                                86


2006 CVAC “Preseason Players to Watch” List

(Submitted by individual institutions under preset qualifying guidelines)


Name:                              School:         Year:            Highlights:

Leanna Willis            Anderson                  JR       348 kills last season to led team

Keauna Vinson          Barton                     SR      2004 & 05 All-CVAC 2nd Team & 03 Honorable Mention

Hallie Fuller              Barton                     SR      Red-shirt setter

Monica Halligan         Belmont Abbey          So      2005 1st Team All-CVAC

Clarissa Stull            Belmont Abbey          JR       Outside hitter

Margaret Madison      Coker                      JR       2005 2nd Team All-CVAC

Lauren Mueller          Converse                 SR      2005 All-CVAC Honorable Mention

Lacie Smith              Lees-McRae             SR      2005 CVAC Tourney MVP, 1st Team All CVAC, Regional All Tourney Team

Amanda Huffaker       Lees-McRae            SR      2005 1st Team All-CVAC, Regional All Tourney Team

Olivia Luce               Lees-McRae             SR      2005 2nd Team All-CVAC

Julie Oleson             Limestone                SR      2005 2nd Team All-CVAC

Amber Wise             Limestone                SR      2005 All-CVAC Honorable Mention

Anna-Marie Luft        Mount Olive              SR      2004 & 05 All-CVAC 1st Team, 2-time All- Region, 2003 CVAC Freshman of the Year

Sam Mitchell            Mount Olive              JR       2005 1st Team All-CVAC & All-Region

Nikki Murphy            Mount Olive              JR       2005 All-Region

Morgan Liebert         Pfeiffer                   SO      Setter & 5th in CVAC in Aces

Heather Klein            Pfeiffer                   SR      Led CVAC & 13th in nation in blocking

Laleh Threeths        Queens                    SR      Outside hitter

Keatin McKenzie       Queens                   So      Middle hitter         

Kim Harper               St. Andrews             SR      2003 & 04 All-CVAC Honorable Mention

Jesi Bewley            St. Andrews               SR      Middle blocker