BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The LSU volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in a vote by the league's head coaches, while sophomore middle blocker Briana Holman was named to the 2014 Preseason All-SEC team the league announced this morning.
With six starters and 11 total letterwinners returning from a squad that went 19-13 last season and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers earned 105 points in the poll that only predicts the winner of the regular season championship, as divisional titles were discontinued before the start of the 2013 season, with LSU being one of five teams that earned over 100 total points in the poll.
“The SEC has developed into such a great volleyball league,” Flory said. “With eight teams advancing to the NCAA tournament last season, all of us expect this to be another amazing year for the league.”
After capping a season where she was named All-SEC and an American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American, Holman is the eighth consecutive LSU player to be named to the conference's preseason team, which dates back to the 2007 season.
“We are excited for Bri, as she had an outstanding freshman season and earned the respect of the coaches in our league,” Flory said. “She has worked very hard this summer, and we certainly expect her to have a special sophomore season.”
Holman will be looking to expound on a rookie season that placed her with some of the best in the country, as the DeSoto, Texas, native started in 31 of 32 matches for the team during her freshman campaign. She finished second on the team with 391 kills, averaging 3.01 per set, while her defensive edge led to an SEC-leading 1.54 blocks per set, which was also fifth in the nation at the end of the season, totaling a freshman-record 200 for the year.
Florida received 12 of a possible 13 first-place votes in the coaches' poll, earning 144 total points to earn the nod as the preseason favorite to win the regular season title, while last year's champ Missouri earned the other and finished third with 114. Kentucky was picked second with 129 points, with Alabama rounding out the top five with 102 points.
Texas A&M, Arkansas, Georgia, Auburn and Ole Miss were picked 6-10, while Tennessee, South Carolina and Mississippi State round out the rest of the poll.
The way the poll shakes out, the top four teams were also the only ones to make the initial cut of the AVCA Top 25 Preseason Poll released Monday, as the Tigers received votes, while Florida was the highest ranked SEC team coming in 10th, Missouri 15th and Kentucky 18th overall.
“With the addition of seven newcomers, the expectations are certainly very high,” Flory said. “We appreciate the fact that the coaches in the league have voted us so high, and we understand the work we have ahead of us to meet or exceed those expectations.”
LSU has earned 190 victories sparked by five 20-win seasons to go along with seven SEC Western Division titles since 2005. The Tigers also are one of 29 programs to appear in at least seven NCAA Tournaments during the past nine seasons.
For all of the latest news and information on Tiger volleyball, visit www.lsusports.net/volleyball. Fans can also follow the program on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/lsuvolleyball along with @lsuvolleyball and @lsucoachfran on Twitter and @lsuvb on Instagram.
2014 SEC Preseason Coaches' Poll
(First-Place Votes in Parentheses)
Place, School, Points
1. Florida (12), 144
2. Kentucky, 129
3. Missouri (1), 114
4. LSU, 105
5. Alabama, 102
6. Texas A&M, 89
7. Arkansas, 87
8. Georgia, 65
9. Auburn, 54
10. Ole Miss, 50
11. Tennessee, 33
12. South Carolina, 29
13. Mississippi State, 13
2014 Volleyball Preseason All-SEC Team
Name, School, Pos. Yr. Ht. Hometown
Krystal Rivers, Alabama, OPP, So. 5-10, Birmingham, Ala.
Alex Holston, Florida, RS, So. 6-1, Olney, Md.
Živa Recek, Florida, OH, Jr. 6-0, Kočevje, Slovenia
Taylor Unroe, Florida, L, Sr. 5-7, Muncie, Ind.
Morgan Bergren, Kentucky, S, Jr. 6-1, Muncie, Ind.
Briana Holman, LSU, MB, So. 6-1, Desoto, Texas
Carly Kan, Missouri, OH, So. 5-9, Honolulu, Hawaii
Whitney Little, Missouri, MB, SR, 6-3, Keller, Texas
Shelby Sullivan, Texas A&M, MB, Jr. 6-2, Richardson, Texas