ORLANDO, Fla. – Having won at least a share of the last seven Sunshine State Conference volleyball titles, Tampa is once again predicted to win the conference championship in 2012.
The Spartans picked up 192 points in a preseason poll conducted among the SSC’s head volleyball coaches and sports information directors. UT also collected 16 first-place votes, the most possible since each school’s voters do not rank their own squad.
Rollins, which tied for third in last year’s league standings, was picked to finish second, collecting 164 points and the remaining two first-place votes.
Eckerd appeared at No. 3 in the poll with 148 points, followed by Florida Southern with 134. Saint Leo took the fifth slot with 91 points. Lynn was close behind the Lions in sixth place with 88 points.
Tampa returns nine letterwinners, including four starters, from the 2011 squad that went 33-2 overall and played in the NCAA Division II semifinals. The Spartans rolled to the SSC championship last fall, posting a 15-1 record in league matches.
Among UT’s returning veterans are reigning SSC Player of the Year Danielle Selkridge and SSC Freshman and Newcomer of the Year Kahley Patrick. Selkridge ranked fourth in the conference with 3.30 kills per set, while leading all of Division II with a .498 hitting percentage. She also ranked second in the SSC with 1.03 blocks per set.
In her debut season, Patrick dished out 9.31 assists per frame, which ranked second among league players. Her efforts helped the Spartans lead the conference with 14.2 kills per set and a .310 team hitting percentage.