2018 GLIAC Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll

2018 Volleyball Overview

The 2018 version of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) volleyball will be headlined once again by Ferris State making an attempt at its fifth consecutive conference championship. However, there are a handful of programs nipping at the Bulldogs paws for a shot at the title this fall. Last season the GLIAC regular season championship came down to the final weekend with Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech one game behind FSU, while Grand Valley State, Tiffin and Wayne State were all within three games of first place.

Ferris State (61 points, 11 First-Place Votes) leads the North Division after becoming the first school to ever win four consecutive league tournament crowns. Per usual, expectations are high for Tia Brandel-Wilhelm's squad who has made seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances. FSU returns seven letterwinners, including two-time All-America outside hitter Allyson Cappel and setter Maeve Grimes.
 
In the South Division, Wayne State (57 points, 7 First-Place Votes) was voted first and will look to punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994. The Warriors have a core group of returners (11 total) coming back, including seniors Hailey Richardson and Ellie Rodriguez and junior Madelyn Krenz who all achieved All-GLIAC honors last season under fifth-year head coach Tim Koth.

Michigan Tech (No. 2 GLIAC North) achieved the breakthrough season they were looking for in 2017 after making a run to the GLIAC Tournament Championship match and clinching a spot in the NCAA Midwest Regional for the first time since 2009. Matt Jennings' program will look to hit the 20-win mark for consecutive seasons with the help of GLIAC Freshman & Setter of the Year in sophomore setter Laura DeMarchi, senior outside hitter Mariah Sherman and junior MacAulay Petersen.
 
Grand Valley State sits second in the GLIAC South Division after winning its 11th divisional conference title. This season's roster features eight upperclassmen highlighted by All-GLIAC First Teamer Staci Brower who led GVSU in nearly every offensive category last season. Seniors Hannah Murdock and Jillian Butsavich also plan to provide the Lakers with valuable leadership. At setter, GVSU will look to junior Frankie Cavallaro showed promise down the stretch last season as three-year starter Katie Olson has graduated.
 
Northern Michigan (No. 3 GLIAC North) has high expectations for 2018, but the Wildcats have to replace some important pieces to achieve their goals in the new season. Junior Sarah Kuehn and sophomore Leticia Antunes return to lead NMU as all-conference performers from last season under second-year head coach Mike Lozier. Third in the GLIAC South is Ashland and new head coach Kevin Foeman who plans on improving upon AU's 14-15 overall record last season. The Eagles bring back three All-GLIAC honorees: junior outside Shelby Woycik, senior middle Reanne Neal and junior middle Michaela Ping.
 
Neighboring rivals Northwood and Saginaw Valley State are tied for fourth in the North Division, while Lake Superior State rounds out the rankings in sixth. Davenport ranked fourth in the GLIAC South with one first-place vote after clinching a berth in the GLIAC Tournament last year. GLIAC newcomer Wisconsin-Parkside and Purdue Northwest complete the South Division standings in fifth and sixth place, respectively.
 
The new season begins on Thursday, August 24th with the first serve of league action scheduled for Friday, September 7th. The 2018 GLIAC Volleyball Tournament will start on Wednesday, November 7th with quarterfinal action and conclude with semifinal and championship matches on November 10th and 11th at the highest remaining seed.  

North Division

#1 Ferris State 61 Points, 11 First-Place Votes

#2 Michigan Tech 49 Points, 1 First-Place Vote

#3 Northern Michigan 43 Points

#4 (tie) Northwood 26 Points

#4 (tie) Saginaw Valley State 26 Points

#6 Lake Superior State 11 Points

South Division

#1 Wayne State 57 Points, 7 First-Place Votes

#2 Grand Valley State 52 points, 4 First-Place Votes

#3 Ashland 40 points

#4 Davenport 30 Points, 1 First-Place Vote

#5 Wisconsin-Parkside 26 Points

#6 Purdue Northwest 11 Points