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Murray State selected preseason volleyball favorite in Ohio Valley Conference; Morehead State voted third

Murray State has been picked to win the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference volleyball title in a vote of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

The Racers picked up 12 first-place votes and 228 points, while Austin Peay earned six first-place votes and 212 points to be selected to finish second. Morehead State was selected to finish third, picking up five first-place votes and 207 points, while Jacksonville State earned the final first-place vote and 197 points to be predicted to finish fourth.

SIUE completed the top five with 149 points. Rounding out the poll are Southeast Missouri (146), Tennessee Martin (117), Tennessee State (85), Tennessee Tech (83), Belmont (66), Eastern Illinois (64) and Eastern Kentucky (30).

Murray State posted a 22-10 overall record last season and finished 13-3 in the OVC. The Racers are the preseason favorite in the OVC poll. (OVC photo)

Murray State posted a 22-10 overall record last season and finished 13-3 in the OVC. David Schwepker, who enters his 22nd season as the head coach, also led his team to its fifth OVC Tournament title in 2018. The Racers placed two on the preseason All-OVC team in junior libero Becca Fernandez and senior outside hitter Rachel Giustino.

Fernandez was named the 2018 OVC Co-Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league with 581 digs and ranking third with 5.01 digs per set. She was also third on the team with 20 aces and 105 assists. Giustino led the league with 470 kills and 4.05 kills per set last season.

Austin Peay captured its second straight regular-season title and fifth overall as it went 27-5 overall and 14-2 in the OVC last year. Taylor Mott, who earned her second straight OVC Coach of the Year honor last year, enters her eighth season at the helm of the Governors. Senior libero Ginny (Gerig) Busse and junior outside hitter Brooke Moore were both named to the preseason All-OVC team.

Busse was first in the OVC with 0.36 service aces per game and second with 39 total aces. She also ranked sixth with 4.35 digs per set and 470 total digs. Moore finished the 2018 season seventh in the league with 3.08 kills per set. She recorded 370 total kills, 358 digs and 29 service aces.

Morehead State is coming off a season in which it went 21-10 overall and 11-5 in the OVC to finish third in the OVC. Jaime Gordon enters his 17th season at helm of the Eagles. Morehead State had three players earn preseason All-OVC honors in redshirt senior setter Chandler Clark, junior outside hitter Olivia Lohmeier and junior outside hitter Lauren Rokey.

Clark was second in the OVC with 10.81 assists per set while ranking third with 1,221 total assists. She also had 277 digs and 22 service aces last year. Lohmeier was named the 2018 OVC Player of the Year after ranking third in the league with 413 total kills and 3.69 kills per set. She also ranking about conference leaders with a .264 hitting percentage. Lohmeier recorded 125 digs and 25 service aces last season. Rokey finished the 2018 season with 308 total kills (2.77 kills per set), 81 digs and 51 blocks.

The 2019 All-OVC preseason team features 15 members from nine different schools. The season gets underway Aug. 30 with conference play starting Sept. 24.

2019 Ohio Valley Conference volleyball preseason poll
(Selected by OVC volleyball head coaches and sports information directors)

1. Murray State (12 first-place votes) – 228
2. Austin Peay ( Six first-place votes) – 212
3. Morehead State (Five first-place votes) – 207
4. Jacksonville State (One first-place vote) – 197
5. SIUE – 149
6. Southeast Missouri – 146
7. UT Martin – 117
8. Tennessee State – 85
9. Tennessee Tech – 83
10. Belmont – 66
11. Eastern Illinois – 64
12. Eastern Kentucky – 30
(*Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. 11 points awarded for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.)

2019 preseason All-OVC volleyball team
(Selected by OVC volleyball head coaches and sports information directors)

Ginny (Gerig) Busse, Austin Peay
Chandler Clark, Morehead State
Hope Everett, SIUE
Becca Fernandez, Murray State
Kaylee Frear, Jacksonville State
Rachel Giustino, Murray State
Lexie Libbs, Jacksonville State
Olivia Lohmeier, Morehead State
Rachel McDonald, SIUE
Brooke Moore, Austin Peay
Hannah Phillips, UT Martin
Julia Pierson, Tennessee State
Lauren Rokey, Morehead State
Rachel Thomas, Tennessee Tech
Anne Wehrheim, Southeast Missouri

From the Ohio Valley Conference

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