The Covenant volleyball team, under first-year head coach Joanna Ehman, was picked to finish second in the South Division of the USA South Athletic Conference preseason coaches' poll, announced the league on Thursday morning.
Additionally, Covenant was picked to finish fourth overall. The Lady Scots received 12 points in the South Division and 105 overall.
Maryville was selected to finish first in the South Division as well as the overall champion. Maryville was the runner-up in the USA South Conference tournament a year ago and garnered four of the five first-place votes in the division with Piedmont gaining the one first-place tally.
On the North side, Averett took seven of the eight first-place votes for the preseason favorite. N.C. Wesleyan was picked to finish second.
The Lady Scots are coming off one of the best seasons in school history in 2012. Covenant finished 25-8 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the Great South Athletic Conference to capture the regular season title. Chelsea Van Dyk
earned GSAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. The 25 wins were one shy of tying a school record set in 1984.
The 2013 season will mark Covenant's first in the USA South and as full-fledged members of NCAA Division III meaning eligibility for postseason competition and awards.
"It's exciting to think about the level of competition we are going to face this season," said Ehman. "Our schedule may be tough, but I honestly think the conference is wide open and has many closely matched teams."
The top five teams from the North Division and the top three teams in the South Division in the final conference regular season standings will qualify for the USA South Conference tournament on November 8-9 in Martinsville, Va.
Ehman added, "Every game in every match is going to be important, and not just for us. It's going to take a lot of focus and hard work from our girls, but I know we are in a good position to establish ourselves as strong competitors in the USA South."
Covenant begins its season with a pair of home matches on August 31 against Oglethorpe (12 p.m.) and Wesleyan (4 p.m.).