By Michael Williams
The 2014 Tusculum College volleyball team has been picked to finish second in the South Atlantic Conference in a vote by the league’s head coaches for the annual SAC Preseason Poll. Tusculum Senior Megan Hasse was selected to the 2014 SAC Volleyball Preseason All-Conference Second Team.
The Pioneers return 10 letter-winners, including five starters, from last year’s 21-11 squad that finished second in the South Atlantic Conference and advanced to the NCAA postseason for a fifth consecutive year.
Defending SAC champions Wingate is once again the favorite to repeat as champions as the Bulldogs received 121 points, including 11 first-place nods. Tusculum is second after receiving 99 points, followed by Lincoln Memorial (94) in third and Anderson (90) in fourth. Lenior-Rhyne was selected fifth with 89 points, but also tallied a first-place vote. Rounding out the poll was Queens (70) in sixth followed by Newberry (62), Carson-Newman (49), Catawba (48), Mars Hill (38), Brevard (18), and Coker (14).
Hasse, a 5-9 outside hitter from Kingston Springs, Tennessee, enters her final season at TC after earning All-SAC Honorable Mention honors last season. She led the team with 56 service aces and ranked second on the squad in kills per set (2.42). Hasse also led the SAC with 0.48 service aces per set, which ranked 30th in NCAA Division II and was the sixth highest for a single season in school history.
Hasse will start the 2014 season ranked in several of the program’s statistical categories including: 3rd in service aces per set (0.37), 8th in career service aces (111), 8th in career kills per set average (2.54), 9th in career total attacks (2474) and 2nd in career attacks per set (8.19).
Wingate led all teams with five Preseason All-Sac honorees including three First-Team selections. Anderson had three players land on the preseason squads, while Lenoir-Rhyne and Carson-Newman each had two honorees.
The Preseason All-SAC teams are selected by a vote of the league’s sports information directors.
Tusculum head coach Michael Robinson is entering his seventh season as head coach of the Pioneer program. The two-time SAC Coach of the Year has led TC to six straight winning campaigns, including the last five resulting in NCAA Tournament at-large berths.
The Pioneers open the 2014 season Sept. 5-6 when they travel to Tampa, Florida to participate in the Tampa Classic. TC will open the season with a pair of matches on Sept. 5 against Ferris State and Indianapolis. Tusculum will open the home portion of its 2014 schedule on Sept. 12-13 when it hosts the annual Hampton Inn Pioneer Classic inside Pioneer Arena.