INDIANAPOLIS - After winning the league tournament and appearing in the NCAA Tournament last season, the Butler volleyball team was voted third in the Horizon League's volleyball preseason poll. Milwaukee, last year's regular season champ, was tabbed as the league favorite.
With essentially three teams tied for second behind UWM, the coaches' voting showed that the 2011 title may be a close race. Milwaukee had four first-place votes and 60 points, followed by Cleveland State with 52 points. Butler and Valparaiso each were right there with 51 points, and CSU and BU each had two first-place votes. Each coach did not include his own team in the voting.
"The preseason poll is definitely a testament to how tight the race will be for the Horizon League regular season championship," head coach Sharon Clark said. "We have so many talented teams in this league who can win on any given night and we are looking forward to league play and the constant battle that is sure to ensue."
The Bulldogs have won 21 matches in each of the past two seasons. Last year, BU went 21-10 overall and 13-3 in the Horizon League to finish second in the regular season. The Bulldogs then went on to win the Horizon League Volleyball Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history.
Butler returns four starters - Maureen Bamiro, Gina Vera, Maggie Harbison and Claire Randich - from last year's team. The Bulldogs have also added nine newcomers, including three transfers.
BU will start its season at Notre Dame's Shamrock Invitational Aug. 26-28. Butler will play Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Notre Dame, respectively.
2011 Horizon League Preseason Poll
|Rank||School (1st Place Votes)||Total Points|
|2.||Cleveland State (2)||52|