RICHARDSON -- The University of Texas at Tyler volleyball has been tabbed to finish second in the American Southwest Conference's East Division, while sophomore Emily Wood was tabbed the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in the East Divsision after a vote of each division’s head
coaches and sports information directors the conference announced on Monday.
The second-place pick is the highest preseason prognostication for the Patriots since the programs first-season in 2003.
The early season expectations come as no surprise, after UT Tyler set a school record for wins in a season with 21, just missing out on the ASC Championship match after a loss to McMurry in the ASC semi-finals last season.
Wood, a sophomore from Waller, Texas was given the nod as the ASC East Division Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference with 6.27 digs per match in her true freshman season, an average that was one full point higher than the second-place finisher.
Texas Dallas, who the Patriots defeated in the ASC quarter-finals last season, are the preseason favorite to repeat as East division champs again, receiving 11 first-place votes for a total of 70 points. The Comets have won or shared the last six ASC east division crowns.
After the Patriots, who received one first-place vote for a total of 53 points is Mary Hardin-Baylor with 52 points. Finishing out the East division is East Texas Baptist with 37 points, Mississippi College with 26 points and LeTourneau with 14 points.
The UT Tyler Volleyball season begins 3,000 miles from home, with the Patriots taking on No. 9 Eastern on August 31 at the Captain's Classic in Newport News, Virginia.
The first home-game of the season is against Texas College on September 7 at 12:30 in the opening match of the UT Tyler/Trinity Mother Frances Invitational.