BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Junior libero Mary Crema has been selected to the Big South Preseason Volleyball All-Conference team and Campbell is picked to finish seventh in the regular season, as voted by the league's head coaches.
Radford outside hitter Rachel Wiechecki was voted the Preseason Player of the Year, while the Highlanders were chosen to finish atop the conference standings.
In 2013, Crema tallied 40 digs against Radford, the second-highest total in school history. She also hit the 30-dig plateau five times and was a two-time Big South Defensive Player of the Week in her first season with the Camels. The defensive specialist finished 11th nationally and third in BSC with 5.44 digs per set, tallying 680 total digs, the third-highest total in a Big South single season. She was also named to the All-Tournament teams at the William & Mary Invitational and the JMU Invitational.
"Mary did a tremendous job for us last season," head coach Greg Goral said. "She solidified our defensive mentality and pressured opponents with her strong serve. She's garnered the respect of the conference by being consistently good night in and night out. I expect she will contribute even more this fall and hopefully at the end of the season we'll have accomplished our goals as a team and have several players who deserve conference honors."
After finishing 2013 with a 14-17 record (4-10 in BSC play), the Camels were chosen to finish the season in seventh place, ahead of Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, and Charleston Southern.
The team returns seven players from 2013, while welcoming five freshmen to the Creek. The Camels will look to redshirt senior Jessica Groen, who led CU with 317 kills (2.54 per set) last season, to pace the offense, while Crema should bolster the Campbell defense. Campbell will also depend on senior Lorin Thomas to secure the net after tallying 14 solo blocks and 33 block assists, second for CU, in 2013.
Campbell opens its season on Aug. 29 at the N.C. Central Tournament, taking on the host at 7 p.m.
Preseason All-Conference Team
Rachel Wiechecki, Sr., OH, Radford (Preseason Player of the Year)
Chelsea Davis, Sr., OH, High Point
Emma Deininger, Sr., MB, Radford
Gabriella Horvath, Jr., OH, Coastal Carolina
Caroline Douglas, R-Jr., OH/LB, Liberty
Lian Bernett, R-Jr., RS/OH, Coastal Carolina
Mary Crema, Jr., LIB, Campbell (tie)
Mary Trimpe, R-Sr., LIB, Presbyterian (tie)
2014 Big South Conference Preseason Volleyball Poll
Rk Team (first-place votes) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Points
1. Radford (6) 6 2 1 1 - - - - - - 93
2. Coastal Carolina (2) 2 6 2 - - - - - - - 90
3. Liberty (2) 2 2 2 4 - - - - - - 82
4. High Point - - 5 5 - - - - - - 75
5. Winthrop - - - - 7 1 2 - - - 55
6. UNC Asheville - - - - 1 1 4 2 2 - 37
7. Campbell - - - - - 4 2 1 2 1 36
8. Gardner-Webb - - - - 2 1 1 2 4 - 35
9. Presbyterian College - - - - - 2 1 5 1 1 32
10. Charleston Southern - - - - - 1 - - 1 8 15
Note: points are based on a weighted system, with first-place votes receiving 10 points, followed by 9 points for second-place, and so on.