Aug. 20, 2009
AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn volleyball team was picked to finish fourth in the SEC Western Division by the league's head coaches. The pick was the team's best preseason ranking in as many as nine seasons.
"I am very encouraged by the respect the coaches gave our young team," Wade Benson, head volleyball coach, said. "We are moving in the right direction and won't be satisfied until we reach our goal and the NCAA tournament."
The 2008 squad finished with a 6-25 overall record and was 1-12 in conference play. The Tigers return eight players from last season, but welcome nine freshmen and a transfer for the 2009 campaign. The recruiting class ranked 26th-best in the nation according to PrepVolleyball.com and was third in the SEC.
"I'm so proud for the players from last season who never gave up and continued to improve until the last ball dropped," Benson said. "Their toughness shows in the respect they have gained and it is now up to the 2009 team to expand on this."
Florida was selected to win its 19th-consecutive conference title by the league's 11 coaches. Kentucky was chosen to finish second in the SEC East behind Florida with Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia following.
LSU was picked to win the West, while Ole Miss and Alabama were predicted to finish second and third, respectively. Auburn and Arkansas were selected fourth and fifth and Mississippi State rounded out the poll in sixth.
Points were compiled on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division and 1-2-3-4-5 for the Eastern Division. Each coach was not allowed to vote for his or her own team and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
Auburn hosts its annual War Eagle Invitational, Aug. 28-29, to open the 2009 season. The Tigers take on in-state rivals Alabama A&M and Alabama-Birmingham in the two-day tournament.