Three MIAC teams receive national attention as AVCA announces preseason Top 25 Poll

Kate Holtan and the Gusties are ranked No. 18 in the nation to open the 2019 season.
Kate Holtan and the Gusties are ranked No. 18 in the nation to open the 2019 season.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Three Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) volleyball teams received national attention on Wednesday with the release of the American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) Preseason Top 25 Poll. The defending MIAC champion Gustavus Adolphus Gusties are ranked No. 18 in the country to start the year with the College of Saint Benedict Bennies at No. 25 and the University of St. Thomas Tommies receiving votes in the first national coaches' poll of 2019.

Gustavus earned the MIAC regular season and playoff championships last year to clinch a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons. Before embarking on a repeat bid, the Gusties will have to get through a challenging non-conference schedule that includes contests against No. 4 Wis.-Eau Claire, No. 10 Aurora, No. 14 Washington-St. Louis, and No. 16 Wis.-Whitewater.

Saint Benedict made its way to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament last fall after coming up just short to the Gusties in a five-set classic in the 2018 MIAC Playoff title match. The Bennies will hit the ground running with non-conference matchups scheduled against No. 4 Wis.-Eau Claire, No. 15 Mary Hardin-Baylor, and No. 17 Trinity all in the first week of the season.

St. Thomas made its way to the NCAA Tournament last year as well and finished the year with a 25-9 record overall. The Tommies face another strong non-conference schedule again in 2019, with matches scheduled against No. 4 Wis.-Eau Claire, No. 13 Illinois Wesleyan, and No. 16 Wis.-Whitewater.

MIAC volleyball players begin reporting to campus this week and will be back on the court for varsity contests beginning on Friday, August 30. Conference play is set to begin on Wednesday, September 18 with the MIAC Playoffs scheduled to take place during the first full week of November.

| AVCA Top 25 Poll |