W&L Volleyball Sits Atop ODAC Preseason Poll

SALEM, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference announced its volleyball preseason coaches poll on Thursday afternoon and Washington and Lee was pegged as the league favorite.

W&L received four first-place votes en route to garnering 111 total points. Virginia Wesleyan grabbed a pair of first-place votes and totaled 104 points. Bridgewater had a pair of first place votes as well and totaled 96 points, while Randolph-Macon received three first-place votes and finished fourth in the voting with 94 total points. Lynchburg (80), Roanoke (74), Emory & Henry (56), Guilford (45), Eastern Mennonite (29), Randolph (24) and Sweet Briar (13) rounded out the poll.

The Generals, winners of the last eight ODAC Championships and owners of an 89-3 league ledger since 2000, return several key members from last season’s team that finished 31-7 and a perfect 10-0 in league play en route to its eighth-straight appearance in the NCAA’s.

Among the returnees is senior outside hitter Rachael Phillips (Tampa Fla./Tampa Prep), the reigning ODAC Player of the Year and a two-time all-region honoree. Phillips finished third in the ODAC with 365 kills (3.29/game) a season ago and was second on the team with 367 digs. She enters the 2009 ranked ninth all-time at W&L in kills (919) and attack attempts (2,335).

Also returning for the Generals is senior setter Megan Steinhardt (Cedar Park, Texas/Cedar Park), who was an Honorable Mention All-ODAC selection a year ago. Steinhardt recorded 930 assists last season and currently ranks 10th all-time at W&L with 1,153 helpers. Senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Kelly Harrison (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb School) also returns after leading the team with 403 digs last season.

Washington and Lee opens its title defense on Sept. 11, as it takes on Christopher Newport in the Warner Center at 5:00 pm as part of the W&L Invitational. Also taking part in the W&L Invitational are defending National Champion and preseason No. 1 Emory, as well as preseason No. 2 Juniata.

--Generals--