BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The University of Charleston and Wheeling University have been picked to repeat as divisional champions in Mountain East Conference Volleyball following a vote of the league’s 11 head coaches.
Wheeling, who has won at least a share of every MEC Regular Season Championship in league history, received 10 first-place votes and 50 points to top the north division poll. The Cardinals won the 2022 MEC North Division and Tournament Championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Atlantic Regional a season ago. Wheeling went 27-8 overall last year, including 15-1 in MEC play. The Cardinals return an experienced lineup in 2023, including outside hitters Riley Kindall and Tylah Yeomans, setter Karly Niesen, and middle blocker Mady Winters.
Fairmont State (37) edged out West Liberty (36) by a single point to take the No. 2 spot in the north division poll. Fairmont State is coming off a 29-6 overall record in 2022 and earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional. The Falcons will be led by returners Kelsie Dangerfield (S), Emma Ludwig (MB) and Joey Borelle (OH) this season. West Liberty was voted third in the north and is also coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance after turning in a 21-13 overall record a season ago. The Hilltoppers will be led this season by libero Nyia Setla and hitter Riley Cudnik.
Notre Dame (21) and Frostburg State (16) rounded out the north division poll.
Charleston topped the south division poll with 58 points and eight first-place votes. Charleston won the south division title with a 33-5 overall record a season ago. UC earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Atlantic Regional and advanced to the second round. The Golden Eagles return an experienced lineup in 2023, including hitter Pia Selke, setter Maria Hernandez, middle Reagan McLean and outside hitter Sage Bearnson.
Under first-year head coach Hillary Hurley, West Virginia State was voted second in the south division poll with 53 points and three-first place votes. The Yellow Jackets return their top five attackers (Kiersten Eggleton, Diamond’Nique Young, Jacklyn Simms, Alex Darby and Natalie Beer), along with libero Ashlynne Davis and setter Peri Martin this season.
Davis & Elkins was third in the preseason voting with 35 points, following by Glenville State (32), West Virginia Wesleyan (27) and Concord (20).
The volleyball season gets underway on Thursday, Aug. 31 with non-conference action around the league. Conference play begins on Friday, Sept. 22.
|2023 MEC Volleyball Preseason Poll|
|Rank||Team (1st Place Votes)||Points|
|2.||Fairmont State (1)||37|
|2.||West Virginia St. (3)||53|
|3.||Davis & Elkins||35|
|5.||West Va. Wesleyan||27|
* Coaches not permitted to vote for own team