The Texas Lutheran Bulldogs were picked to finish sixth in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference after a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches for the 2019 SCAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
The Bulldogs received 48 points in the preseason poll and trailed SCAC favorite Colorado College, Trinity, Southwestern, Austin College and the University of Dallas.
With TLU at No. 6, University of St. Thomas, Centenary College, Schreiner, and Johnson & Wales – Denver rounded out the poll.
Led by second-year head coach Phyllis Fowler, the Bulldogs come off a year in which they went 9-21 overall and 6-10 in league play.
TLU finished seventh in the league in 2018 and just missed qualifying for a spot in last year’s conference tournament. The top six teams in the regular season race advance to the conference championship tournament.
TLU will host the 2019 SCAC Volleyball Championship, set for Nov. 8-10 in Tostengard Activity Center – Susan Duke Court.
The Bulldogs return 11 players from last season’s team.
Among the Bulldogs’ returners is senior Jaci Chambers (Baytown/Goose Creek Memorial), who was named the 2018 SCAC Backrow Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-SCAC Second Team.
A year ago, Chambers led the conference in digs, with 681, and in digs per set (6.03).
TLU opens its Bulldog Challenge on Aug. 30 with matches against Howard Payne and Louisiana College. The match with HPU begins at noon in TLU’s Tostengard Activity Center - Susan Duke Court. The 4:30 p.m. match against Louisiana College will take place in TLU’s Memorial Gymnasium - Jim Shuler Court.
On Aug. 31, the Bulldogs face Sul Ross State at 10 a.m. in Tostengard and meet McMurry at 2:15 p.m. in Memorial.
On the heels of its second consecutive league tournament title and fifth over the last nine seasons, the Colorado College looks to become the first to three-peat at the conference postseason event since Colorado College accomplished the feat from 2010 to 2012.
CC, which begins the season ranked seventh in the AVCA coaches’ poll, earned eight of the 10 first-place votes to total 98 points in the preseason balloting. By virtue of earning the league’s automatic bid a year ago, the Tigers made the program’s 21st consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball championship, succumbing to eventual national champion Emory University in the Mount Berry regional semifinal.
The 2019 SCAC Volleyball season is set to kick off with non-conference action on Friday, Aug. 30, while the first SCAC regular season weekend is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 with Centenary and Johnson & Wales hosting group divisionals.
Following the completion of the regular season, the top six teams in the league will compete in a single-elimination tournament, hosted by TLU, to determine the conference’s automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament.