RUSSELLVILLE, ARK. - The East Central University volleyball team was picked to finish 10th, out of 12 teams in the 2015 Great American Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, as voted on by the league's head coaches.
The Tigers, who finished 2014 10th in the GAC earned 27 points in the poll. Arkansas Tech was picked to repeat as championship after winning its third GAC title in 2014, with 121 points and 11 first-place votes.
Harding was second (104 points/one first-place vote) and Southern Nazarene third (97). Newcomer to the league, Oklahoma Baptist was picked fourth (87).
Southeastern Oklahoma State was next in fifth (76), Ouachita Baptist sixth (74), Northwestern Oklahoma State seventh (65), Southern Arkansas eighth (55), and Southwestern Oklahoma State ninth (43).
The final two teams in the poll below ECU are Arkansas-Monticello in 11th (25) and Henderson State 12th (18).
The Tigers return 13 of 14 players from a year ago, including all seven starters. That group includes All-GAC Honorable Mention selections, seniors Hayley Gerken and Sarah Simpson.
ECU will start the season at the Nova Southeastern tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sept. 4-5. The Tigers then return home to host the Tigers/Savage Storm Classic Sept. 11-12 at the Kerr Activities Center.
ECU will welcome SAU, Texas A&M-Commerce, Oklahoma Panhandle State, Cameron, William Jewell and Fort Hays State.