Aug. 21, 2012
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio Volleyball was selected to win the Mid-American Conference's East Division as the league announced the 2012 Preseason Poll as voted on by the league's head coaches. The Bobcats have captured the Eastern Division every year since 2002 and have won the outright league title five times during that span.
Ohio returns nine letterwinners from last season's squad, including All-MAC First Team selection Kelly Lamberti
, second-team choice Lexie Hartnett
and All-Freshman honoree Chelsea Bilger
. That trio, combined with returning starter Faith Robins
, two defensive specialists that played every game in 2011, Mollie Geske
and Kelly Colyar
, and upperclassman Leah Petrovich
make the Bobcats a formidable opponent. Ohio also added six newcomers for this upcoming season, including two transfers.
Lamberti finished her first season, second in the league in point scoring. The freshman also ranked second in kills, fifth in service aces and led Ohio in double-doubles with 19. Bilger finished second on the Bobcats in kills and third in points. She racked up 12 double-doubles on the season, eight in conference action.
Hartnett received All-MAC honors for a second time last season after helping Ohio rank 19th in the nation in blocks per set. The redshirt sophomore ranked third in the MAC in blocks per set and placed second with 117.0 total blocks. Ohio finished their season ranked 22nd nationally with an average of 2.67 blocks per set and also boasted the best defense in the league, holding opponents to an average hitting percentage of .168.
Western Michigan was picked to win the MAC West, as well as the regular season and tournament titles. The Broncos return all but two players from last year's team which finished with a 24-9 recorded and an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. Setter Terin Norris, the reigning MAC Freshman of the Year and First Team All-MAC selection, is joined by two-time First Team All-MAC selection Jessica Brown and Lena Olive, another First Team All-MAC pick and the COBRA Magazine National Defensive Player of the Year.
Rounding out the East Division poll was Miami, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State and Akron. For the West Division poll, Ball State, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. The 2012 volleyball season begins this Friday as teams begin non-conference season. The 2012 MAC Volleyball Tournament will be November 16-18 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
East Division Preseason Poll
1. Ohio (11)
2. Miami (1)
3. Bowling Green
5. Kent State
West Division Preseason Poll
1. Western Michigan (10)
2. Ball State (1)
3. Central Michigan (1)
4. Northern Illinois
5. Eastern Michigan
Regular Season Champion - Western Michigan
Tournament Champion - Western Michigan