By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Fort Hays State volleyball team was picked ninth in the 2021 MIAA preseason coaches poll, released Monday (Aug. 23) by the league office.
The Tigers received 25 points in the balloting process, five points ahead of 10th-place Emporia State and 10 clear of 11th-place Newman. Nebraska-Kearney, winners of the 2021 MIAA Spring Volleyball Tournament, tops the poll with 96 points thanks to seven first-place votes. Washburn (88 points) and Northwest Missouri State (86 points) both received two first-place votes and are separated by just two points for second and third, respectively.
Head coach Jessica Wood-Atkins enters her fourth year at the helm in 2021 with a squad consisting of eight returners and six newcomers. Isabelle Reynolds, an honorable mention All-MIAA outside hitter in 2019, is the lone returning senior on this year’s roster, but she is joined on the front line by four other returning hitters in juniors Mykah Eshbaugh, Emily Ellis and Morgan Christiansen and sophomore Riley Tinder.
Returning setter Elysia Glowacz is joined by two transfers, senior Olivia Hessman from Southern Arkansas and sophomore Jaida Felix from Nicholls State.
Defensive responsibilities will be up to returners Jaden Daffer and Morgan McIntire, while Coffeyville CC transfer Jaysa Wichers and freshmen Claire Olson, Delanie Patterson and Jessica Saunders round out the Tiger attacking group.
The Tigers will open the season for their first official competition in nearly 22 months on September 3-4 when they travel to Pueblo, Colo. for the Steel City Showcase, hosted by CSU-Pueblo. Fort Hays State will play at home for the first time September 10-11 when they host the 2021 Tiger Classic, consisting of 12 games on two courts across the two days of action. Conference action kicks off on Friday, September 17 when the Tigers host Washburn.
2021 MIAA Volleyball Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Nebraska-Kearney – 96 points (7 first-place votes)
2. Washburn – 88 points (2)
3. Northwest Missouri State – 86 points (2)
4. Central Missouri – 75 points
5. Central Oklahoma – 62 points
6. Missouri Western – 48 points
7. Missouri Southern – 47 points
8. Pittsburg State – 43 points
9. Fort Hays State – 25 points
10. Emporia State – 20 points
11. Newman – 15 points