Wheeling, W. Va. – On Tuesday, the American Volleyball Coaches Association released its pre-season survey of the top 25 coaches. They were the only Mountain East Conference (MEC) team to make the list, after a year winning the MEC Championship.
This is the 10th consecutive season that the Wheeling Volleyball team has been ranked in the AVCA Top 25 preseason poll, dating back to 2012, and they finished 2019 ranked 24th overall. They earned a spot in the poll to start 2021, grabbing 23rd place. They have been selected for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Volleyball Tournament 14 times, including 12 consecutive tournaments dating back to 2008.
In 2020, the Cardinals went 11-2 over the season, including an 8-2 mark in MEC play en route to their 8th consecutive MEC Championship. They had a 219-game winning streak in the conference when they fell to Fairmont State on February 16, but returned to beat those same hawks in the MEC Championship game. For the head coach Christy benner, this was his eighth MEC Championship in his 19th season as Head Volleyball Coach at Wheeling University.
Returning to lead the way for the Cardinals are a group of seven seniors who include the 2020 MEC Libero of the Year Audrey Francois (Sidney, OH./Fairlawn), All-MEC Second Team Kayla bekier (Northwood, OH./Lake) and Honorable Mention All-MEC Lexi reinert (Cincinnati, OH./Ursuline Academy). They run a roster that has grown to 26 players this year, as the program looks to build on its momentum.
The volleyball team begins its season at the West Florida Invitational in Pensacola, Florida. before heading to Indianapolis for the University of Indianapolis tournament. This is part of a series of three consecutive tournaments for the Cardinals to start the year, ending with the Atlantic Region Crossover at Alma Grace McDonough Center. Their first MEC contest is on September 28 against Fairmont State, and they finish the regular season against West Liberty on October 23 on senior day.
Angelo State took first place in this year’s poll, receiving 22 first-place votes, followed by Concordia – St. Paul and Cal State San Bernandino. To view the full AVCA Top 25 pre-season survey, click HERE.
The University of Wheeling volleyball team begins its season on September 2 when they face the University of West Florida on day one of the West Florida Invitational.