Virginia Volleyball Picked Third in ACC Preseason Poll
Aug. 8, 2007
The Virginia volleyball team was picked to finish third in the annual Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, which was released Wednesday by the conference office. Fourth-years Sarah Kirkwood and Katie Oakes were also selected to the All-ACC preseason team.
"I am pleased the ACC coaches feel we have that kind of power returning," Melissa Shelton, Virginia head coach, said. "We are looking forward to doing well in the conference again but it is tough from top to bottom. The preseason poll in the past hasn't really mattered so we need to make sure we take care of business."
Duke, the ACC defending champion, was selected first in the poll with 142 points. Georgia Tech (123) was picked second, just seven points in front of the Cavaliers, who earned 116 points. Clemson (113) and Florida State (95) round out the top five.
Kirkwood, a 2005 honorable mention All-America pick by the AVCA, is a three-time All-ACC performer. The outside hitter enters the 2007 season averaging a school-record 4.43 kills per game and is within reach of setting records for career service aces and kills. Kirkwood is serving as a team captain for the second consecutive year.
Oakes, a middle, is another returning All-American for Virginia, earning honorable mention honors in 2006. As a third-year she was a second-team All-ACC pick and finished 10th nationally in blocks. Oakes also set a school mark in blocks per game last season.
"Katie and Sarah are two of our best weapons," Shelton said. "Sarah is probably the best all-around player in the conference and Katie is one of the top returning middles. We are looking forward to them having excellent senior seasons."
In 2006, the Cavaliers finished 23-8 overall and 16-6 in the conference to place second. Virginia, which reported Monday and officially began practice today, opens the season Aug. 24 against Texas Tech in the Las Vegas Tournament.