TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- After making its first trip to the NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament last fall, Rose-Hulman has been selected to finish fifth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference this season.
Five teams tied for first place honors in the HCAC regular season last fall, before Rose-Hulman won the HCAC Tournament to punch its ticket to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The league preseason poll reflected the balance shown last year. Hanover was picked to win the league with 88 points and two first-place votes. Transylvania was chosen second with 83 points and three first-place votes.
Third-place Bluffton tallied 76 points and two first-place votes. Mount St. Joseph (74 points and one first-place vote) was chosen fourth, with Rose-Hulman receiving 71 poll points and the final two first-place votes.
The remaining picks included Defiance in sixth place, followed by Anderson, Manchester, Franklin and Earlham.
Rose-Hulman features the return of two experienced seniors, in three-year all-conference player Anna Lewer (Indianapolis/Lutheran) and recent NCAA Division III Sportsmanship Award winner Erika McGuire (Indianapolis/Warren Central). The roster also includes five juniors with two varsity letters each, several returning sophomores, and perhaps the largest incoming freshman class in program history.
Rose-Hulman opens the season at the Illinois College Invitational on Sept. 1. The home opening Rose-Hulman Invitational takes place on Sept. 8-9.