BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Senior Caitlin Vorbeck and sophomore Jen Meyer were selected to the Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Volleyball Team on Wednesday, when the league's head coaches and Sports Information Directors also picked Jacksonville State to finish second in the 2010 race.
The defending regular-season and tournament champion Gamecocks rolled through the league in 2009 with a 17-1 record before claiming their first NCAA Tournament win in Tallahassee, Fla. They return all but one starter in 2010 and were picked to finish behind Morehead State, who was swept by JSU in the OVC Tournament final after finishing third in the regular season race.
Vorbeck, a 5-foot-11 senior from Raytown, Mo., was a First Team All-OVC selection last year after finishing second on the team and 10th in the OVC with 2.91 kills per set. The outside hitter/middle blocker amassed 376 kills as a junior to run her career total to 979, leaving her on the doorstep of becoming the 15th member of the school's 1,000 kills list. She also ranked fifth in the league in service aces, while finishing eighth in points per set. She was a second-team all-conference selection as a sophomore.
Meyer, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter from Maineville, Ohio, received her first Preseason All-OVC honor after earning All-Newcomer Team recognition as a freshman in 2009. In her debut season, she averaged just under two kills per set on a .294 hitting percentage, the second best mark in the league. Meyer also averaged 2.10 points and 0.41 assists per set.
The Gamecocks, led by two-time OVC Coach of the Year Rick Nold, received 139 points and nine first-place votes in the preseason poll, just behind Morehead State's 153 points and 11 first-place votes. No other team earned a first-place vote, but Murray State was a close third behind JSU with 133 points. Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee Tech rounded out the top five, while Austin Peay, Southeast Missouri, Eastern Illinois, Tennessee State and UT Martin finish the poll, respectively.
Also back in 2010 is junior libero Lauren Harkins, who already ranks fifth in school history with 1,144 digs after just two seasons. Senior Kara Slater will return in the middle, where she led the team with 0.58 blocks per set and was fourth on the team with 2.26 kills per set a year ago. Senior setter Brooke Schumacher also returns with 3,467 career assists under her belt, enough to rank her fourth in JSU's career record books.
JSU will open the 2010 season on Aug. 27 against Memphis in Nashville, Tenn., on the opening day of the Belmont Invitational. The Gamecocks' home opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 31 against Kennesaw State in Pete Mathews Coliseum, where the hold a 66-15 record since joining the OVC in 2003.
Jax State will open league play on Sept. 17 at preseason favorite Morehead State. The Gamecocks have put together a .741 winning percentage in OVC matches since joining the conference, the best conference winning percentage by any team in league history. Their .667 overall winning percentage since 2003 is also the best by any OVC member during its tenure in the conference.