Eastern volleyball picked to finish 10th in OVC coaches poll

Adam Tumino, Volleyball Reporter

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File Photo | The Daily Eastern News
Laurel Bailey dives in front of teammate Madison Cunningham to receive a Southeast Missouri serve in September 2018. The Panthers lost the match 3-2.

The regular season is less than two weeks away for the volleyball teams of the OVC.

An OVC coaches poll, released last week, picked the same four teams to sit atop the standings, although in a slightly different order.

Austin Peay finished with the best conference record last season, going 14-2 against OVC foes. But the Governors lost in the OVC Championship to second-seeded Murray State in straight sets.

It was the only match in the tournament in which the lower seed was victorious.

Murray State was voted as the favorite to win the OVC, receiving 12 votes compared to Austin Peay’s six.

Last season’s third and fourth-place finishers, Morehead State and Jacksonville State, were voted to finish third and fourth again.

Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois Edwardsville finished tied for fifth last season after both finishing 8-8 in conference play. Southeast Missouri’s overall record was 16-14 compared to a 9-20 finish for Edwardsville.

These two are expected to finish in fifth and sixth place, but this time with Edwardsville placing higher.

The seventh, eighth and ninth place teams in 2018 were Tennessee Martin, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.

This trio of Tennessee teams was voted to finish in the same places in 2019.

According to the poll, the bottom three teams are expected to be Belmont, Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky.

Eastern Illinois and Belmont each finished 5-11 in conference last season, but Eastern’s record of 10-21 put them above Belmont, who finished 5-23 overall.

Belmont will have a new head coach this season in Katelyn Harrison.

Also finishing 5-23 overall last season was Eastern Kentucky. They were alone in last place, however, due to a 4-12 record in OVC play, the Colonels are expected to bring up the rear once again.

They will also have a new head coach this season with the arrival of Johnna Fouch.

In addition to the OVC coaches poll, the 2019 Preseason All-OVC Team was released last week.

Tennessee Martin, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and Southeast Missouri each had one player named to the team.

Austin Peay, Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Murray State and Jacksonville State each had two players named to the team.

Morehead State led the way with three players being named to the team.

Only one sophomore was named to the team: Hope Everett of Southern Illinois Edwardsville.

All OVC teams open their regular seasons on Aug. 30. Tennessee Martin and Southeast Missouri play the first conference game of the season on Sept. 24, with the other teams opening their conference seasons later that week.

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]