WKU volleyball picked to win Conference USA again

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For the fourth-consecutive season, Western Kentucky has been picked as the Conference USA preseason favorites.

Senior Rachel Anderson was named the league’s preseason player of the year. Anderson marks the third-straight Lady Topper to be recognized with the preseason honor following Jessica Lucas (2016) and Alyssa Cavanaugh (2017).

Coach Travis Hudson’s squad collected five first-place votes as six CUSA squads earned at least one first-place vote. For the second consecutive season, Rice was picked as the league’s runner-up. Florida Atlantic, North Texas and Southern Mississippi round out the top five of the preseason poll.

In addition to her preseason player of the year nod, Anderson also earned a spot on the league’s preseason all-conference team for the second straight season. The senior middle hitter is the two-time defending CUSA tournament MVP and an AVCA All-American.

Anderson’s career .390 hitting percentage leads all returning players across the nation and is on pace to break the current program record of .382 held by Megan Argabright.

Hudson’s squad has the potential to do damage on both sides of the ball between a lethal offense that as ranked second in the NCAA the past two seasons and a tenacious defense looking to stifle opposing teams’ game plans. Western finished the 2017 campaign with a 31-4 record while winning both the CUSA regular season and tournament championships for the fourth straight season.

In the AVCA Coaches Preseason Poll released Tuesday, the Lady Toppers were receiving votes with 58 points and landed in the top 25 rankings on at least two ballots.

CONFERENCE USA VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL/b>

1. Western Kentucky (5)
2. Rice (2)
3. Florida Atlantic (2)
4. North Texas (1)
5. Southern Mississippi (2)
6. Texas San Antonio
7. Charlotte
8. Marshall
9. Florida International (1)
10. Texas El Paso
11. Alabama Birmingham
12. Middle Tennessee
13. Louisiana Tech

CONFERENCE USA PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rachel Anderson, WKU

CONFERENCE USA PRESEASON TEAM

Yumi Garcia, Charlotte
Ivone Martinez, Florida Atlantic
Sigourney Kame, Florida Atlantic
Abbi Reid, Florida Atlantic
Karley York, North Texas
Barbara Teakell, North Texas
Grace Morgan, Rice
Nicole Lennon, Rice
Sarah Bell, Southern Miss
Kylie Grandy, Southern Miss
Macey Austin, UTEP
Rachel Anderson, WKU