PERU, Neb. – The Peru State volleyball team was picked fourth by the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) coaches at their recent conference meeting.
Defending champion Grand View was selected to defend its championship when the Heart women’s volleyball coaches cast their votes in the preseason poll.
Grand View, which claimed both the Heart regular season and tournament championships in 2016, sits atop the preseason ratings by the league’s 14 coaches in its third campaign as a conference member.
MidAmerica Nazarene, which claimed a share of its fifth-straight regular season championship last season, was picked to finish second, while Missouri Valley, Peru State and Central Methodist completed the top five, respectively.
New Bobcat head coach Laurie Schroeder, formerly an assistant at Clarke, was pleased with the ranking. Schroeder stated, “The Heart’s level of play has definitely increased over the course of the last couple of years. The Bobcats were fourth last year and our goal will be to play at that same level or better this coming fall.” Continuing Schroeder added, “Having had an opportunity to work with team this spring gives me a better insight as to where the team could be and I am looking forward to fall camp starting next week.”
The first regular season matches will be played in just over two weeks, with Missouri Valley scheduled to play the first match of 2017 against Goshen (Ind.) at the Forester Invitational hosted by Huntington (Ind.) on Friday, August 18. Grand View, William Penn and Baker are also scheduled to compete over the weekend of August 18-19.
The ‘Cats will open their official season with a road match against NAIA-powerhouse Midland in Fremont on August 23.
The first conference match of the 2017 campaign will be played one week later on Friday, August 25 when Benedictine travels to William Penn. The top 10 teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the 2017 Heart Tournament. First round play will take include two matches on Thursday, November 2, while the championship match is slated for Saturday, November 11.
2017 Heart Women’s Volleyball Coaches’ Preseason Poll
1. Grand View
2. MidAmerica Nazarene
3. Missouri Valley
4. Peru State
5. Central Methodist
7. Mount Mercy
14. William Penn