Arkansas Tech University is a unanimous preseason favorite to win the 2012 Great American Conference volleyball championship.
Every opposing head volleyball coach in the conference picked the Golden Suns to successfully defend their GAC volleyball crown in a poll released by the league office in Russellville on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Arkansas Tech was 35-4 overall and 16-0 in conference play last season. The Golden Suns swept the GAC regular season and postseason volleyball championships and went on to reach the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time since 2000.
Nine letter winners return from that squad, including All-GAC first team selections Sara Motsinger of Normal, Ill., and Amber Cerrillos of Michigan City, Ind. Also back is All-GAC honorable mention performer Brittany Ryan of Mena.
Arkansas Tech earned a total of 64 points in the voting. Harding University (2nd, 54 points), Southeastern Oklahoma State University (3rd, 43 points) and Southern Arkansas University (4th, 42 points) are predicted to be the Golden Suns' top competition for the title.
East Central University (5th, 37 points), Ouachita Baptist University (6th, 34 points), Southwestern Oklahoma State University (7th, 21 points), the University of Arkansas at Monticello (8th, 17 points) and Henderson State University (9th, 12 points) round out the GAC preseason volleyball poll.
The regular season GAC champion will earn the right to host the GAC Tournament Nov. 16-17.
The Golden Suns will make their 2012 volleyball season debut on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at the Christian Brothers University Invitational in Memphis, Tenn.
Arkansas Tech will open the home portion of its volleyball schedule by hosting the Hampton Inn Spikefest Sept. 7-8 at Tucker Coliseum. The Suns' first conference match of the season is set for Sept. 11 at UA-Monticello.
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