Fayetteville, N.C. - The USA South Athletic Conference has released is 2012 fall sport preseason coaches polls. North Carolina Wesleyan received 4th-place billings in volleyball and men's soccer, while women's soccer was tabbed 10th.
In volleyball, 13th-year head coach Robin Pietryk's Bishops earned 87 points en route to a 4th-place finish in the poll. Pietryk returns six starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that finished 20-11 overall and 12-6 in league play. Leading the way are All-Conference performers Meredith Smith and Shana Ayers, who will be joined by fellow seniors Erin Augspurger, Anna Hart and Kristi Lucas as key contributors.
In men's soccer, 2nd-year head coach Frankie Taal's squad was also tabbed fourth in its respective poll, picking up 44 total points in the voting. Taal anticipates returning 16 letterwinners this fall, including five players that started six or more games in 2011. The Bishops are looking to build on a 7-5-6 campaign and runner-up conference finish last season.
Finally, women's soccer finished 10th in its poll but hopes to be a surprise team in the league. Sixth-year head coach Beverly Biancur's Bishops are looking to rebound from a 2-17 slate in 2011 and are poised to do so with five key starters returning. Leading the way is sophomore Rebecca Staylor, who led the team with ten goals and four assists as a freshman.
Season-opening matches are just a few weeks away as volleyball and women's soccer kick off on September 1st. Volleyball hosts a tri-match with Randolph-Macon and St. Mary's (Md.) at noon and 4:00pm in Everett Gymnasium, while soccer travels to Salem for a 2:00pm match versus the Spirits. The Battling Bishop men host their opener the following Wednesday, the 5th, against Guilford at 4:00pm.
To view the complete USA South coaches poll in each sport, please visit www.usasouth.net.