Valparaiso University's volleyball team has been unanimously selected as the preseason favorite to win its third consecutive Mid-Continent Conference title according to a vote of the league's head coaches.
Head coach Carin Avery's squad tallied all seven first place votes available to finish with 49 points. The Crusaders were a perfect 14-0 in Mid-Con play last season and finished 29-5 overall. Valpo won its second straight regular season and tournament titles, and also made its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Oral Roberts, last year's tournament runner-up, has been picked to finish second this season followed by Western Illinois. IUPUI and UMKC were picked fourth and fifth respectively with Oakland, Chicago State, and Centenary rounding out the poll.
First place votes earned seven points in the poll on a scale that saw one point issued for a seventh place pick. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Crusaders will open up their 2005 regular season on Saturday, August 27, as Valpo heads to the WMU Fall Kickoff Tournament to battle Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
2005 Mid-Continent Conference Preseason Poll
Team - Points
1. Valparaiso (7) - 49
2. Oral Roberts (1) - 42
3. Western Illinois - 36
4. IUPUI - 33
5. UMKC - 24
6. Oakland - 18
7. Chicago State - 15
8. Centenary - 7
(First place votes in parentheses)