NORFOLK, Va.— Winners of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Northern Division for the last five seasons, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's women's volleyball team was predicted not to win a sixth title in 2013 according to the preseason release from the conference late Thursday.
Voted on by the league's head women's volleyball coaches and sports information directors, the Hawks, two-time defending MEAC Champions, garnered 10 first place votes and 249 total points to earn the runner-up prediction.
Hampton University, who enters the season with a new coach, returns two preseason all-conference selections and earned 14 first place votes and 274 points. Norfolk State, Coppin State, Morgan State, Delaware State and Howard round out the northern division predictions. UMES is somewhat of an unknown heading into the season with several new players and a new coach in Millicent Van Norden. While a new coach to UMES, Van Norden is a two-time MEAC Coach of the Year and knows what it takes to win in the conference.
"With so many new players it will take a while to gel and develop our system," Van Norden said. "I hope by the time conference play begins we will be ready to compete for a high seed in the MEAC Tournament."
In the southern division Florida A&M is predicted to win, earning 282 points and 19 of the 26 first place votes.
North Carolina Central, South Carolina State, Bethune- Cookman, North Carolina A&T and Savannah State round out the southern predictions. Also released by the league was the preseason team which includes preseason player of the year Desire Waller from South Carolina State.
Waller is a two-time reigning MEAC Player of the Year for the Bulldogs. Conference play begins on September 27 with the defending MEAC champion hosting the Delaware State Lady Hornets.
That is the home opener for UMES, who currently holds the nation's longest home winning streak at 30 consecutive matches dating back to 2009.