MILWAUKEE, Wis. --- Aurora University, which made league history a year ago by advancing to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship, is the favorite to capture the 2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) women's volleyball title according to the league's annual preseason poll released Monday.
The NACC preseason poll is voted on by the NACC's head coaches and athletics communications professionals.
The Spartans (26-9 overall, 12-0 NACC), who also won the NACC Tournament title and are ranked 10th in the AVCA preseason rankings, leads the poll with 333 points and 21 of 26 first-place votes. Concordia University Wisconsin sits second with 310 points and the five remaining first-place votes. Dominican University is third with 284 points, while Lakeland University (fourth, 245), Wisconsin Lutheran College (fifth, 221) and Concordia University Chicago (sixth, 207) round out the top six.
Benedictine University (190), Edgewood College (177), Marian University (126), Milwaukee School of Engineering (114), Illinois Institute of Technology (78), Alverno College (48), and Rockford University (33) round out the poll.
|2019 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference
Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (1st place votes)||Points||2018 Record|
|1.||Aurora (21)||333||26-9, 12-0 NACC|
|2.||Concordia Wisconsin (5)||310||19-10, 10-2 NACC|
|3.||Dominican||284||20-10, 9-3 NACC|
|4.||Lakeland||245||22-11, 9-3 NACC|
|5.||Wisconsin Lutheran||221||18-12, 7-5 NACC|
|6.||Concordia Chicago||207||13-16, 7-5 NACC|
|7.||Benedictine||190||15-12, 7-5 NACC|
|8.||Edgewood||177||13-17, 7-5 NACC|
|9.||Marian||126||9-15, 4-8 NACC|
|10.||MSOE||114||10-19, 3-9 NACC|
|11.||Illinois Tech||78||5-21, 2-10 NACC|
|12.||Alverno||48||4-26, 1-11 NACC|
|13.||Rockford||33||4-25, 0-12 NACC|
New Coaches: Just one program will be debuting a new head coach this season. Dan Dresen takes over the helm of the Alverno program after spending the past four seasons as an assistant for the Inferno. Dresen, who has deep connections in the local club volleyball scene, was selected as the 16s Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for his role with the Wisconsin Juniors volleyball program based out of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
2019 Schedule: The season kicks off Friday, August 30 with 12 of 13 programs in action. Concordia Chicago is the lone holdout and will get its year underway the following day when it hosts Concordia Ann Arbor and Concordia Wisconsin in a triangular.
The conference schedule kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 18 with six matches - Marian at MSOE, Alverno at Edgewood, Illinois Tech at Aurora, Rockford at Wisconsin Lutheran, Lakeland at Concordia Wisconsin, and Dominican at Concordia Chicago - and concludes with six games on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
NACC Tournament: The top six teams in the final regular-season standings will qualify for the NACC Women's Volleyball Tournament, which opens with a pair of first-round games Tuesday, Nov. 5. Semifinals are slated for Thursday, Nov. 7, and the final for Saturday, Nov. 9. The higher seed in each contest will host throughout the tournament.
The NACC Tournament champion will receive the league's automatic berth in the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship.