Gulf South Conference coaches are forecasting a tight race between Harding and Arkansas Tech for the 2010 GSC West Division volleyball title.
The preseason GSC volleyball poll was released by the league office on Wednesday, and it reveals Harding as the favorite by the slimmest of margins to win the GSC West.
The Lady Bisons received four first-place votes and a total of 34 points in the voting, while the Arkansas Tech Golden Suns earned the three remaining first-place votes and 33 points.
Every coach in the GSC West picked Harding and Arkansas Tech to finish in the top two in the regular season title chase.
Coaches believe that Henderson State (3rd, 26 points) is a safe choice to qualify for the GSC Tournament, which will feature the top four teams from both the GSC West Division and the GSC East Division Nov. 12-13 at the home of the GSC East champion.
The fourth spot from the GSC West might be up for grabs between Arkansas-Monticello and Christian Brothers. The Cotton Blossoms are picked to finish fourth with 17 points in the preseason poll, but the Lady Buccaneers were close behind in fifth with 16 points.
Coaches view Ouachita Baptist (6th, 12 points) and Southern Arkansas (7th, 9 points) as longer shots to qualify for the postseason.
The Golden Suns return nine letterwinners and every starter from their 2009 squad, which posted an overall record of 24-13, finished third in the GSC West and qualified for the GSC Tournament.
Kristy Bayer is entering her seventh year as Arkansas Tech head volleyball coach. She has a career record of 135-76 with the Golden Suns.
Tech will begin its 2010 volleyball season Sept. 3-4 at the 2010 Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Classic in Denton, Texas.