For Immediate Release
Volleyball -- Aug. 24, 2012
Red Devils Tabbed Sixth in Preseason SLIAC Volleyball Poll
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Less than a year removed from a sixth-place finish in the final 2011 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings, the Eureka College volleyball team has been picked to finish sixth in the conference in 2012, according to a preseason coaches’ poll released by the league office Thursday night. Defending conference co-champion Webster was selected as the preseason favorite to win the nine-team league.
The Gorloks received five first-place votes to edge poll runner-up Greenville. Spalding, which can compete in the SLIAC postseason in 2012 for the first time after completing its time as an NCAA Division III provisional member, was picked third. Principia, Westminster, Eureka, Fontbonne, MacMurray and Blackburn rounded out the poll.
The Red Devils return seven letterwinners for first-year head coach Michelle Reef, all of which have at least two seasons of collegiate experience. Three of those veterans will be entering their fourth season at Eureka. Senior libero Courtney Kincaid (Green Valley, Ill./Midwest Central H.S.) has appeared in all 94 matches for EC since arriving on campus in 2009. She received All-SLIAC Honorable Mention as a junior last fall and will anchor Eureka’s defensive efforts again in 2012. She will enter her final season as the active Eureka leader with 890 digs and 220 assists.
Senior outside hitter Shari Steidinger (Forrest, Ill./Prairie Central) will also provide experience for EC as an outside hitter. Her 60 career service aces and 35 career total blocks are the most by any current Red Devil. She has played 84 matches since 2009, including every match of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Senior defensive specialist Becca Idell (Toluca, Ill./Fieldcrest H.S.) joins Kincaid and Steidinger as four-year players on the 2012 roster. Idell has emerged as one of the Red Devils’ top contributors, playing in all 28 matches last season after making only 38 appearances combined in 2009 and 2010. Idell will provide depth on Eureka’s defensive unit after compiling 251 digs as a junior.
Outside hitters Kelli Dunne (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S./Illinois Central) and Peyton McAtee (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) round out Eureka’s returning starters. Dunne, a senior who transferred from Illinois Central prior to last season, ranked third among Eureka attackers last season with 158 kills, while her 2.14 kills per set led the team. McAtee, a junior, received All-SLIAC Honorable Mention last fall and enters her third collegiate season as the active Eureka leader with 355 kills and a .175 hitting percentage. She has played in 60 consecutive matches to begin her career.
Junior setters Eileen Bollinger (Custer Park, Ill./Reed-Custer H.S.) and Emily Campbell (Pontiac, Ill.Pontiac H.S.) are also back in the fold for EC. The duo combined for 144 assists off the bench last season. Campbell can also contribute as a right-side hitter. Five newcomers join the squad for 2012, highlighted by junior college transfer Jacqui Kane (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S./Lincoln). Four of the newcomers are freshmen and will have four seasons of eligibility.
The Red Devils will open their 36-match schedule versus Cornell at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 as part of the Labor Day Classic hosted by Washington (Mo.) in St. Louis, Mo. Eureka’s challenging non-conference schedule also includes visits to a pair of tournaments hosted by Illinois Wesleyan and a tournament hosted by Division III power Millikin. Four of Eureka’s 2012 opponents qualified for last season’s NCAA Tournament, including national semifinalist Carthage (Wis.). The Red Devils will take on the Lady Reds on Oct. 27 in Bloomington, Ill.
Eureka’s 16-match SLIAC slate will begin on the road at Principia on Friday, Sept. 14. The Red Devils won’t open the home portion of their schedule until the same Principia squad visits the Reagan Center on Saturday, Oct. 6. Eureka will open the season with 21 consecutive matches away from its home floor, 10 of which will be true road contests.
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