Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's volleyball squad is already drawing preseason attention with the season only two weeks away as the Bulldogs were tabbed 21st today in the 2018 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Preseason Poll.
In this year's preseason poll, the Bulldogs are the only Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) program found in the top 25 overall.
Ferris State totaled 234 points in the poll, which is conducted by the AVCA. Concordia-St. Paul came in first with 1,198 points and 47 first-place votes followed by Southwest Minnesota State with 1,077 points. Minnesota Duluth, Florida Southern and Western Washington rounded out the top five overall.
With the preseason ranking this year, the Bulldogs have now been ranked among the nation's top 25 teams a total of 167 weeks in school history, including all 14 polls last fall. The Bulldogs finished the 2017 season ranked 23rd in the nation.
Along with this year's preseason national ranking, the four-time defending league champion Bulldogs were also recently picked to repeat as the GLIAC Champion as the Bulldogs were tabbed first in the 2018 GLIAC Preseason North Division Poll announced by the league office.
The Bulldogs made their seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament bid last fall and have advanced to at least the regional semifinals each of the last seven years. FSU's regional appearance last year represented the program's 22nd all-time NCAA bid.
In 2017, FSU closed the year with a 24-8 overall mark and also became the first school to ever win four consecutive league tourney crowns.
Last year also marked the 16th time in 22 seasons under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm in which FSU had claimed at least 20 victories in a campaign. The Bulldogs made their 20th consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance.
Ferris State will return seven letterwinners for the 2018 campaign, including two-time All-America outside hitter Allyson Cappel along with returning starters in setter Maeve Grimes in addition to Courtney Brewer and Katie Placek.
This fall's schedule is highlighted by the return of the season-opening Ferris State Invitational on Aug. 23-25 at the Ewigleben Sports Complex. FSU opens the season by hosting Upper Iowa on Thursday, Aug. 23, at 6 p.m. (ET). The Bulldogs then host Winona State (Minn.) and perennial national power Concordia-St. Paul on Friday, Aug. 24, at 12 and 6 p.m. (ET), respectively, before closing out the three-day event on Saturday, Aug. 25, against Hillsdale starting at 6 p.m.
In addition to the season-opening event, the Bulldogs will also make a trek to Florida over the Labor Day weekend to face strong competition in Drury (Mo.), Florida Southern, Rollins (Fla.) and Tampa before opening GLIAC action at home against Wisconsin-Parkside on Sept. 7.