Aug. 16, 2012
MVC Preseason Volleyball Poll
St. LOUIS -- Following a 2011 season when the Missouri State volleyball team finished 22-9 overall, 15-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference and advanced to a seventh NCAA Tournament in nine seasons, the Bears have been picked to finish second in the 2012 MVC race by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll released today. Junior setter Carly Thomas is the lone Bear represented on the six-player all-conference team.
Defending champion UNI is the unanimous favorite to repeat, garnering all 10 first-place votes and 100 total points.
The Bears earned 86 points for second, followed closely by Wichita State (84) in third.
Creighton (68), Illinois State (57) and Southern Illinois (41) round out the six teams expected to make the league tournament held in Springfield, Nov. 22-24.
A first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 2011, Thomas led the conference with 11.23 assists per set and posted 22 assist-dig double-doubles on the season, the most for an MSU player since 1990. The Swansea, Ill., native posted 10 kills, 48 assists and 18 digs in the regular season finale at Illinois State, becoming the first MSU player with a triple-double in those categories since 2006, and had consecutive matches of at least 50 assists and 20 digs earlier in the year, just the 11th and 12th such performances in school history.
Thomas finished 2011 ranked 25th nationally in assists and was the MVC Player of the Week Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Nov. 7 in addition to receiving AVCA All-Central Region honors.
Missouri State, which has finished fourth or better in the league standings and won at least 20 matches in each of the last 13 seasons, opens the 2012 season in Norman, Okla., for a three-match tournament Aug. 24-25. The Bears will face Oklahoma, Tulsa and Western Michigan at the Nike Invitational.