Head of the class for UNK volleyball

UNK volleyball rallies together during team drills on April 5, 2017 (NTV News)

KEARNEY - Nebraska-Kearney has been picked a top the MIAA preseason volleyball polls after going 17-1 in league play and 35-2 overall last season. The Lopers, who won the MIAA Tournament as well, received ten of the possible 12 first place votes from the coaches.

Kearney hosts Washburn on September 22nd and then UCM (Oct. 13) and UCO (Nov. 4) later in the season. The Lopers have to visit Topeka and Edmond but not Warrensburg this fall.

Head coach Rick Squiers has five starters and a libero back from a squad that went 35-2 in 2016 and finished the year ranked fifth nationally. UNK is aiming to make a 19th straight NCAA Tournament; only the University of Tampa has a longer active streak (29 years).

Kearney begins fall camp on Monday, Aug. 14 with the season opener set for Sept. 2 in Hawaii. The preseason AVCA national D2 poll will be released on Aug. 14.

Central Oklahoma who was third in the league last season at 15-3 was picked second receiving one first place vote as they come off a 30-4 overall 2016 campaign. Washburn, who was 16-2 and second in the MIAA last year, was picked third just four points behind the Bronchos and earned the remaining first place vote.

Central Missouri was slated in the fourth spot after turning in an 11-7 league record and going 23-10 overall while Northwest Missouri was picked fifth by the coaches. Fort Hays State earned the sixth spot in the poll just five points ahead of Missouri Western who was picked seventh overall. The Griffons came in just two points ahead of Emporia State who the coaches slated in eighth while Lindenwod sits in the ninth spot just six points behind that.

Pittsburg State was picked 10th, Missouri Southern 11th and Southwest Baptist 12th in this year’s poll.

Teams are slated to take to the court on Sept. 1, 2017 with tournament play ranging from Topeka, Kan. to Hawaii. The conference championship is scheduled for Nov. 14-17 at campus sites.

2017 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Nebraska-Kearney (10) 120

2. Central Oklahoma (1) 105

3. Washburn (1) 101

4. Central Missouri 98

5. Northwest Missouri 77

6. Fort Hays State 62

7. Missouri Western 57

8. Emporia State 55

9. Lindenwood 49

10. Pittsburg State 35

11. Missouri Southern 18

12. Southwest Baptist 15

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