The Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) announced late Wednesday afternoon its 2008 Preseason Volleyball Rankings with Buena Vista receiving 34 points and picked to finish seventh.
BVU, which earned the sixth-seed into last year's conference tournament, returns five starters from last season's squad, including Second Team All-Conference performers, Katie Vondrak (So., MH, Sioux City, Iowa/Bishop Heelan) and Kelli Luitjens (Jr., MH, Worthington, Minn./Worthington). Luitjens led the team with 396 kills and 138 blocks. Her 1.42 blocks per game in league play ranked second, while her .295 hitting percentage ranked fifth and 115 kills ranked eighth. Vondrak ranked second on the team with 377 kills and 119 blocks. Her 1.23 blocks per game average in IIAC play ranked fourth, while her 126 kills ranked fifth, and her .276 hitting percentage ranked seventh. Senior setter Molly Reuter (LeMars, Iowa/LeMars) led the team with 1,148 assists and her 11.10 assist per game average in IIAC matches ranked fifth. Senior outside hitter Kayla Dekker (Fulda, Minn.) ranked third on the team in kills with 185.
BVU will be guided this season by new head coach Heather Noll who had spent the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where the team finished as national runner-up in 2007. She says it will be a fresh start for BVU heading into the year.
"This year is going to be the start to a building process at Buena Vista," she stated. "BVU has some outstanding returners and talented freshman coming in. We hope to compete respectfully in the conference this year."
Coe College is the coaches' pick to win the 2008 IIAC title. They received four first-place votes, three second-place votes and a third-place vote, totaling 67 points in the IIAC Coaches' Poll.
Central College, which has won or shared each of the past 12 IIAC volleyball titles, and Simpson College, a seven-time IIAC champion which tied the Dutch for their most recent title in 2006, tied for second place with 64 points apiece.
BVU kicks-off its 2008 schedule on Friday, Aug. 29 and Saturday, Aug. 30 when they take part in the St. Olaf College Tournament in Northfield, Minn.