NEW YORK – The Butler volleyball team was tabbed sixth in the 2013 BIG EAST preseason poll as voted on by the leagues head coaches. Junior middle blocker Erica Stahl earned an individual honor making the preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
Stahl represents Butler on the preseason all-conference team after great sophomore campaign where she ranked 13th nationally with 1.49 blocks per set. Stahl ended the 2012 season with 140 kills (1.36 per set) and 153 blocks.
Joining Stahl on the preseason all-conference team is the Creighton trio of Kelli Browning, Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary. Lindsey Gosh and Elizabeth Koberstein of Marquette made the preseason team along with the tandem of Sarah Brown and Alex Smith from Xaiver. Vesela Zapryanova of DePaul, Danielle White of Georgetown, Karin Palgutova of St. John's and Shelby Manthorpe of Seton Hall round out the group.
The Preseason Player of the Year voting ended in a tie this year giving Kelli Browning of Creighton and Elizabeth Koberstein of Marquette a share of the title. Browning was the Defensive Player of the Year last season in the Missouri Valley Conference and Koberstein led the BIG EAST in assists per set (11.64).
With three players on the preseason all-conference team and the Preseason BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year, the Creighton Bluejays enter the season as BIG EAST favorites. Creighton posted a 29-4 record a year ago as members of the Missouri Valley Conference. They received seven first place votes, giving them 63 points in the poll.
Marquette picked up the final two first place votes giving them 57 points and Xavier rounded out the top three with 50. Seton Hall (38) edged St. John's (36) for the fourth spot and Butler (26) just beat out Villanova (25) for the sixth slot. DePaul and Georgetown finished the poll with the Blue Demons claiming 16 points and the Hoyas with 13.
The Cincinnati Invitational signals the start of the new season for the Bulldogs on Friday, Aug. 30 and the BIG EAST opener will be a home match vs. Xavier on Friday, Sept. 27. The top four teams in the final regular-season standings will participate in the BIG EAST Volleyball Championship, which will be hosted by Creighton Nov. 29-30.
2013 BIG EAST Women's Volleyball Preseason Coaches' Poll
(First place votes)
1) Creighton (7) - 63
2) Marquette (2) - 57
3) Xavier - 50
4) Seton Hall - 38
5) St. John's - 36
6) Butler - 26
7) Villanova - 25
8) DePaul - 16
9) Georgetown - 13
2013 BIG EAST Women's Volleyball Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Erica Stahl, MB, Jr., Butler
*Kelli Browning, MB, Jr., Creighton
*Melanie Jereb, OH, So., Creighton
Leah McNary, OH, Jr., Creighton
*Vesela Zapryanova, OH, Sr. DePaul
*Danielle White, MB, Jr., Georgetown
Lindsey Gosh, OH, Jr., Marquette
*Elizabeth Koberstein, S, Sr., Marquette
Karin Palgutova, OH, Jr., St. John's
*Shelby Manthorpe, S, Jr., Seton Hall
*Sarah Brown, OH, Sr., Xavier
*Alex Smith, MB, Sr., Xavier
*denotes unanimous selection
Note: Players were chosen regardless of position.