Related: USA South Release
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, the Covenant volleyball team was once again picked as the preseason favorite in the West Division of the USA South as the conference released its annual coaches' poll on Thursday.
Each divisional preseason poll only includes votes from coaches within that particular division-only. Head coaches do not vote for their own teams in the balloting.
The Scots finished 25-8 in 2017 and won the USA South's West Division with a 12-0 record. Covenant then captured the USA South Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Covenant, under sixth-year head coach Joanna Ehman, returns nine players from last season's team, including two starters and the libero.
Covenant has won USA South divisional titles in each of the last three seasons.
It is the third straight year that Covenant has been tabbed as a division's preseason favorite. The Scots gained seven first place votes and 49 total points in this year's poll to sit atop the division. Maryville garnered the lone remaining first place tally and had 40 points to be selected second. Brevard and Piedmont tied for third with 34 points each, while Huntingdon rounded out the top five in the division with 25 points.
In the East, Meredith and Averett each took four first place votes, but Meredith edged Averett for the top spot with 59 points. Averett, the defending division champion, tallied 58 points. William Peace also had a first place vote and was picked third with 45 points.
The USA South Tournament is set to begin on Tuesday, Oct. 30 with the top six teams in each division qualifying. The top two seeds in each division will host first round and quarterfinal rounds matches, while the semifinals and championship will be played at the highest remaining seed on Nov. 2-3.
Covenant opens the season on Aug. 31 at the Emory Classic in Atlanta against SUNY New Paltz at 4:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Sept. 11 against Mississippi University for Women at 6 p.m.
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