Wittenberg University has once again been selected as the preseason favorite after balloting by North Coast Athletic Conference volleyball coaches in the 2015 preseason poll.
The Tigers, who collected their 20th league title a year ago after posting a perfect 8-0 record against league foes, earned eight of the possible nine first-place votes cast by league coaches for 80 total points. DePauw, which earned its second-straight at-large invitation into the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament in 2014, earned the final first-place vote and finished second in the poll with 72 points. Rounding out the top-five in the preseason poll is Ohio Wesleyan (61), Hiram (50) and Denison (48). Oberlin checked in at sixth with 28 points, followed by Wooster (23), Allegheny (22) and Kenyon (21).
Wittenberg will again be led this fall by head coach Paco Labrador, who enters his 13th season in Springfield with an overall record of 377-59, which includes an impressive 138-2 mark against NCAC opponents. The Tigers return a wealth of talent from last year's squad that suffered a narrow 3-2 loss in the regional finals against eventual national champion Hope. Leading the charge will be senior three-time All-American right-side hitter Kara Seidenstricker (London, OH/Jonathan Alder) and junior All-American middle hitter Emily Kahlig (Coldwater, OH/Coldwater). Seidenstricker, the NCAC Player of the Year selection in 2012 and '14, enters her senior campaign with eye-popping numbers that include 1,126 kills,184 blocks and 163 service aces, while Kahlig is coming off a sophomore season in which she totaled 194 kills, 88 blocks and 36 digs. Junior outside hitter Camila Quiñones (Sunbury, OH/Worthington Christian) also returns to the fold this season for the Tigers after collecting second-team All-NCAC laurels in 2014.
Founded in 1983, the North Coast Athletic Conference is made up of ten academically selective colleges and universities - Allegheny College, Denison University, DePauw University, Hiram College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, Wabash College, Wittenberg University and the College of Wooster, along with affiliate member, Earlham College (field hockey). The NCAC sponsors 23 championship sports, 11 for men and 12 for women.
2015 North Coast Athletic Conference Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll