RICHMOND, Ind. – Earlham College women's volleyball was predicted to finish sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2018, in voting among the conference's head coaches announced on Friday.
The Quakers received 48 points in the voting, trailing fifth-place Defiance College with 56 points. The sixth-place showing marks the first time Earlham volleyball has finished out of the bottom spot in the preseason poll since the Quakers joined the HCAC in 2010.
"This is a significant achievement of our program, and I fully understand that this now means we have a target on our back," said Lauren Horton, Earlham's head women's volleyball coach. "I believe we will prove that we've earned this bump and more, and we are ready to continue our fight toward the top of the HCAC standings."
Four HCAC schools received first-place votes in the balloting, with Hanover College sitting atop the poll with 91 points and three first-place votes. Transylvania was just one point behind in second place with 90 points and four first-place votes.
Third-place Bluffton (79 points, one first-place vote) and fourth-place Rose-Hulman (76 points, two first-place votes) were separated by just three points ahead of both Defiance and Earlham. Mount St. Joseph (41 points), Manchester (30 points), Franklin (25 points), and Anderson (14 points) rounded out the poll.
Earlham finished the 2017 season with a 15-13 overall record, and finished sixth in the HCAC standings with a 3-6 mark. The Quakers return a trio of All-HCAC performers from a year ago, led by First Team All-HCAC middle hitter Ashleigh Burton (3.45 kills/set, .293 attack pct., 0.47 blocks/set), and Honorable Mention All-HCAC setter Lauren Jackson (10.06 assists/set, 1.73 digs/set). Also returning for the 2018 season is HCAC All-Freshman outside hitter Julia Stewart, who paced the Quakers with 328 kills (3.31 kills/set).
For more information about Earlham women's lacrosse, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).
HEARTLAND COLLEGIATE ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
2018 VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
1. Hanover – 91 (3 first-place votes)
2. Transylvania – 90 (4 first-place votes)
3. Bluffton – 79 (1 first-place votes)
4. Rose-Hulman – 76 (2 first-place votes)
5. Defiance – 56
6. Earlham – 48
7. Mount St. Joseph – 41
8. Manchester – 30
9. Franklin – 25
10. Anderson - 14