NEW ORLEANS, La. (8/25/04) -- The North Texas volleyball team, set to begin the 2004 season on Sept. 1 at Tulsa, received 47 points in the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Coaches Poll to finish third in the West Division voting behind league-champion New Mexico State and Denver.
The Mean Green went 22-14 last season, marking the first time since 1995 the program eclipsed 20 wins, and has finished second in the West Division the last two seasons. Despite losing four starters from last year’s team, including Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Corina Marginas, the Mean Green finished just nine points behind Denver in the poll. NT returns Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference performer Brittney Gregory and two seniors in Anne Pope and Amber Clearman to lead the way in 2004.
The Aggies were picked to finish first in the West Division after receiving 60 points and six of the possible 11 first-place votes, while Denver was selected second with 56 points and five first-place votes. Following North Texas were New Orleans (30), Louisiana-Lafayette (24) and South Alabama (14).
Western Kentucky’s 54 points and 10 first-place votes placed them atop the East Division in the poll. Arkansas State (37) is expected to finish second in front of Arkansas-Little Rock (34), Middle Tennessee (24) and Florida International (16).
WKU’s Amanda Schiff was named the Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the league’s preseason team by Stevi Adams (NMSU), Caron Blotch (WKU), KeKe Deckard (MT), Lisa Hunter (Denver), Giedre Tarnauskaite (ASU), Crystal Tower and Ivana Vracar (UALR).
2004 SUN BELT CONFERENCE PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL COACHES POLL
*First-place votes in parentheses
New Mexico State (6)
60 Denver (5), 56
North Texas, 47
New Orleans, 30
South Alabama, 14
Western Kentucky (10), 54
Arkansas State (1), 37
Arkansas-Little Rock, 34
Middle Tennessee, 24
Florida International, 16
2004 PRESEASON SUN BELT VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Stevi Adams (Sr., OH), New Mexico State
Caron Blotch (Jr., S), Western Kentucky
KeKe Deckard (Sr., OH), Middle Tennessee
Lisa Hunter (So., OH), Denver
Amanda Schiff (Sr., MB), Western Kentucky
Giedre Tarnauskaite (Sr., OH), Arkansas State
Crystal Tower (Jr., OH), Western Kentucky
Ivana Vracar (Sr., OH), Arkansas-Little Rock