Hardin-Simmons’ volleyball team has been selected to win its fourth straight American Southwest Conference title in a vote of the league’s 10 head coaches and sports information directors. HSU senior outside hitter Christine Sas and East Texas Baptist’s Kolby Sharp have been named the preseason offensive and defensive players of the year.
The Cowgirls are coming off a 29-4 season, win a third straight conference title, go undefeated in conference play at 16-0 and post a 25-match winning streak. HSU claimed 18 of the 20 first-place votes and easily outdistanced second-place Texas Dallas 198 to 179 in the poll. UTD (2008-09) was the last team to win the ASC title other than HSU.
Mary Hardin-Baylor (22-8, 12-4 ASC East) received 151 points to be the choice for third place, just two points more than fourth-place selection East Texas Baptist (19-12, 12-4 ASC East). Texas-Tyler (13-17, 5-11 ASC East) was picked to finish fifth, followed by Concordia Texas (10-18, 5-11 ASC West) to round out what would be the six teams to qualify for the ASC Championship Tournament.
Mississippi College was predicted for a seventh-place finish with 81 points. Howard Payne (74 pts.) was the choice in the eighth spot, followed by LeTourneau (49 pts.) and Sul Ross State (24 pts.).
Sas, a 5-foot-8 senior outside hitter, was named ASC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year after averaging 2.99 kills per set and totaling 47 service aces last season. She also averaged 3.73 digs per set and racked up 38 blocks. She was first-team all-ASC and honorable mention all-region a year ago.
Sharp, a 5-foot-11 sophomore middle blocker, was named ASC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year after totaling 103 blocks – 38 of the solo variety – in 2012. She also led the league with a .373 hitting percentage and added 43 digs.
The 2013 ASC season – the 18th in league history – begins as early as Aug. 30. The six-team, double-elimination ASC tournament is slated for Nov. 7-9 at the site of the regular season champion and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament will be on the line.
NOTES: After 15 years of having East and West Divisions, the ASC will return to playing in one division. . . . New head coaches in the conference are Concordia Texas’ Christy Clawson-Diver and Sul Ross State’s Marilyn McReavy-Nolen. . . . Texas Lutheran (15-13, 12-4 ASC West) and Schreiner (12-15, 8-8 ASC West) are no longer members of the conference . . . . Hardin-Simmons is receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll. . . . To talk about ASC Volleyball on Twitter this season, use the hashtag: #ASCvb.
2013 ASC PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL POLL
[Voted on by ASC Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors]
Team (first-place votes)
29-4, 16-0 ASC (1st West)
27-7, 14-2 ASC (1st East)
22-8, 12-4 ASC (T2nd East)
East Texas Baptist
19-12, 12-4 ASC (T2nd East)
13-17, 5-11 ASC (T4th East)
10-18, 5-11 ASC (T4th West)
12-18, 5-11 ASC (T4th East)
10-16, 5-11 ASC (T4th East)
7-25, 1-15 ASC (6th East)
Sul Ross State
3-19, 1-15 ASC (6th West)
* A single division format will be used this season instead of East and West; Former league members’ records last season: Schreiner (12-15, 8-8 ASC West), Texas Lutheran (15-13, 12-4 ASC West).
ALL-TIME ASC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS
2007 Texas Lutheran
2005 Austin College
2004 Texas Lutheran
2003 East Texas Baptist
2002 East Texas Baptist
2001 East Texas Baptist
2000 Austin College
1998 Mary Hardin-Baylor
1996 Howard Payne
Information for this story provided by HSU Athletics.