Angelo State Belles leap to their first national top-10 appearance
SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Angelo State has entered the national top-10 for the first time in program history.
The Belles (4-0) leaped to No. 9 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll after sweeping through the Hilltopper/Rattler Classic last weekend. They are the state's and Lone Star Conference's top ranked team. ASU was ranked No. 15 in the preseason poll after being ranked as high as No. 16 and finishing last season at No. 19.
“It's a testament to the way the kids have worked, but it's not a destination,” head coach Chuck Waddington said. “It's simply a location along the path. We are trying to compete for and win national championships. It's just a number and we still have to play the matches. We have a larger target now and are excited and ready for the responsibility."
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Angelo State's previous high ranking was No. 13 in 1992 – which is also the last time ASU earned an LSC championship. West Texas A&M, last week's No. 9 team, dropped to No. 14 after suffering a season-opening loss to Adams State last Friday in its home tournament.
Angelo State cruised through last weekend's round-robin tournament with wins against Southeastern Oklahoma, St. Mary's, Southwestern Oklahoma and St. Edward's. Each match was earned with 3-0 scores with only Southwestern Oklahoma forcing a set past the 25-point mark (ASU won 27-25). Shelbi Goode, playing in her first matches with the Belles after transferring from Alabama, led ASU with 56 kills from her middle blocker position while Alex Woolsey had 158 assists for the Belles. Chelsea Gibson, who has moved to an outside hitter position, had 32 kills while Kaelen Valdez contributed 33 kills and 43 digs. Sophomore libero Shelby Wilt was a defensive stalwart with 65 digs and Maddie Huth finished the tournament with 31 kills. Katie Coleman and Emily Booth had 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
“We have to show up and play our style of volleyball against some really great teams [in the coming weeks],” Waddington said. “It's going to be a big jump in competition from our first weekend of matches. All we can do is give it our best and take care of our side of the net.”