ORU Picked 2nd by SLC Coaches, 5th by SIDs
Defending champion Central Arkansas was the pick of both the head coaches and the sports information personnel to defend their league crown.
ORU received two 1st place votes and 101 total points in the SLC Preseason Coaches’ Poll and trailed only UCA, which received eight 1st place votes and 117 points. Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin each received a 1st place vote and checked in tied for 3rd place, while Northwestern State rounded out the top five.
The Golden Eagles received no 1st place votes and 83 points in the SLC Preseason SID Poll, tied for 5th with Stephen F. Austin. Central Arkansas and Sam Houston each received six 1st place votes, with the Sugar Bears earning 115 total points and the Bearkats earning 107. Northwestern State, with 88 points and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, with 85, were slotted just below UCA and SHSU.
ORU returns four starters and eight letterwinners from a squad that went 17-15 in 2012, with an 11-7 Southland Conference record. The Golden Eagles had a roller coaster season a year ago after they were picked 2nd in both Preseason SLC Polls but finished tied for 5th in the league standings. But Sheera Sirola’s team put it all together in the Southland Conference Tournament, advancing to the Championship Match before falling in a thriller to Central Arkansas.
Headlining ORU’s lists of returners is senior libero Bruna Silva, the Southland Conference’s 2012 Libero of the Year. Flanking Silva are senior setter Laura Taylor, a 2012 honorable mention All-SLC selection and senior middle blocker Jessica Pancratz, who lead the league in blocks last season. All three seniors were named to the Preseason All-SLC 1st Team on Tuesday.
ORU opens the 2013 season on Friday, August 30 against Texas Southern. First serve in Houston, Texas is scheduled for 1 pm CT.