FOREST, Va. --- Washington and Lee University has been in this position before. The Generals won their second straight conference title last season, marking the fourth time in program history that they have claimed consecutive crowns. Each of the previous three times featured at least three championships in succession, making it no surprise that W&L is the favorite to lift a third straight trophy as the leader of the 2022 ODAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll.
The Generals collected 144 total points powered by 12 first place votes following a vote of the league's 13 head coaches. Virginia Wesleyan University, last year's runner-up, received the remaining top nod on the way to 122 tallies. Randolph-Macon College sits just three ticks back with 119 markers. New ODAC member Averett University (106) and Bridgewater College (102) both eclipsed the 100-point plateau to round out the top-five.
In the following sections, we take a quick look back at last season and get a feel for what to expect for the upcoming women's volleyball campaign.
2021 ODAC TOURNAMENT | BRACKET
- Home court was a distinct advantage in the 2021 tournament with hosting teams winning six of the seven matches.
- Top-seeded Washington and Lee moved through the first two rounds of the tournament unblemished with a 3-0 win over #8 Shenandoah in the quarterfinals and 3-0 triumph over #4 Bridgewater in the semifinals.
- Third-seeded Virginia Wesleyan posted a 3-1 victory over #6 Eastern Mennonite in the quarterfinals, and then went on the road to upset second-seeded Randolph-Macon, 3-2, in the semifinals.
- W&L hosted the Marlins in the championship and opened with a resounding .303 team attack percentage to win the first second, 25-17; the Generals were not quite as efficient offensively in the second set, but they forced the Marlins into more errors (10) than kills (9) on the way to a second 25-17 win; the tenor was much different in set #3 with VWU recovering from as many as four points down to take a 22-20 lead, but W&L finished with five straight points to post a 25-22 set victory and a 3-0 championship triumph.
- The Generals have competed in 24 ODAC title matches with a conference-best 18 overall trophies including each of the past two; they won eight straight from 2001 through 2008.
- Virginia Wesleyan has competed for the ODAC title three times with one crown in 2019.
2021 NCAA DIVISION III TOURNAMENT
- Washington and Lee was the lone ODAC team to compete in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Generals traveled to Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., for early round play; W&L met Southwestern University in its opening match and came out on the wrong end of a 3-1 result.
- W&L is now 7-15 (.318) in 15 NCAA Tournament appearances all-time.
THE NATIONAL SCENE ENTERING 2022
- The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) released its annual Division III Preseason Coaches Poll on Augusts 19; while no ODAC teams featured inside the top-25, Washington and Lee did receive eight votes towards the initial ranking.
- Reigning national champion University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire tops the chart with 2,165 points.
WELCOME TO THE ODAC!
- Averett University became the 15th full-time member of the ODAC on July 1 and opens its first season of ODAC women's volleyball this fall; the Cougars previously played out of the USA South Athletic Conference.
- New head coach Olivia Earls takes the reins of an AU squad that went 24-8 (.750) overall and 13-5 (.722) in league play to finish fourth of 10 teams in the USA South East Division standings.
- This year's squad returns one all-league performer in middle hitter Morgan Barnes, who was named to the USA South East Division Second Team.
- Averett had a long history of success in USA South women's volleyball, posting 18 regular season championships and 11 tournament titles.
RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS
The athletes listed below represent the top-three returning statistical leaders for each category from the 2021-22 season.
Kills/Set, Digs/Set, Blocks/Set, and Points/Set Minimums: 50% of team games played
Attack Pct. Minimums: 50% of team games played and 3.0 attacks/set
- Kills | 433 - Sydney Heifner (W&L); 348 - Grace Parker (R-MC); 308 - Jillian Warter (SU)
- Kills/Set | 4.05 - Jillian Warter (SU); 4.00 - Paris Hutchinson (EMU); 3.90 - Sydney Heifner (W&L)
- Attacks | 1,294 - Sydney Heifner (W&L); 1,038 - Grace Parker (R-MC); 966 - Morgan Ludovici (VWU)
- Attack Pct. | .354 - Ann-Marie Johnson (BC); .323 - Emma Claytor (VWU); .242 - Paris Hutchinson (EMU)
- Assists | 1,111 - Ashley Webb (W&L); 844 - Grace Hayes (BC); 710 - Megan Miller (EMU)
- Assists/Set | 9.66 - Ashley Webb (W&L); 9.47 - Megan Miller (EMU); 8.98 - Grace Hayes (BC)
- Service Aces | 70 - Haley Sutton (VWU); 43 - Ashley Webb (W&L); 41 - Kennedy Clemmer (RC)
- Digs | 513 - Caroline Gard (W&L); 485 - Kennedy Clemmer (RC); 451 - Leslie Currie (R-MC)
- Digs/Set | 4.46 - Caroline Gard (W&L); 4.31 - Abby Kaufman (EMU); 4.22 - Kennedy Clemmer (RC)
- Total Blocks | 85 - Maggie McSwain (W&L); 82 - Emma Claytor (VWU); 81 - Peyton Kirchner (RC)
- Blocks/Set | 0.90 - Aaliya Chunn (SU); 0.89 - Emma Claytor (VWU); 0.81 - Vanessa Johnson (GC)
- Points Earned | 488.0 - Sydney Heifner (W&L); 389.5 - Grace Parker (R-MC); 348.0 - Morgan Ludovici (VWU)
- Points/Set | 4.6 - Paris Hutchinson (EMU); 4.4 - Sydney Heifner (W&L); 4.3 - Jillian Warter (SU)
RETURNING ALL-ODAC TALENT | 2021 ALL-ODAC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL AWARDS
The 2022 season features 15-of-24 All-ODAC honorees from the 2021 fall campaign plus one All-USA South award winner with the inclusion of Averett University. Washington and Lee head coach Bryan Snyder, the reigning and 11x ODAC Coach of the Year, welcomes back ODAC Player of the Year, outside hitter Sydney Heifner. Virginia Wesleyan features middle blocker Emma Claytor, who earned ODAC Rookie of the Year laurels. Randolph outside Tomi-Laurn McGinnis is back after garnering ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete of the Year distinction. Bridgewater, Virginia Wesleyan, and Washington and Lee each return a league-high three All-ODAC honorees.
- Grace Hayes (S) - Bridgewater
- Paris Hutchinson (OPP) - Eastern Mennonite
- Grace Parker (OH) - Randolph-Macon
- Haley Sutton (S) - Virginia Wesleyan
- Caroline Gard (L) - Washington and Lee
- Sydney Heifner (OH) - Washington and Lee (POY)
- Ashley Webb (S) - Washington and Lee
- Morgan Barnes (MH) - Averett (USA South East Division Second Team)
- Abbi Leeper (OH) - Lynchburg
- Emma Claytor (MB) - Virginia Wesleyan (ROY)
- Morgan Ludovici (OH) - Virginia Wesleyan
- Ashley Casey (OH) - Bridgewater
- Ann-Marie Johnson (MH) - Bridgewater
- Leslie Currie (L) - Randolph-Macon
- Kennedy Clemmer (DS) - Roanoke
- Jillian Warter (OH) - Shenandoah
ODAC HEAD COACHES
The ODAC features some of the best coaches in the business. W&L's Bryan Snyder is 12th among active Division III coaches with 615 wins, while R-MC's Bill Rogers is ranked 42nd with 441 victories. Both also feature on active winning percentage charts with Snyder slotted 17th at .750 and Rogers ranked 27th at .710. Two new coaches join the ODAC's ranks in 2022. Shelbylynn Adair takes the reins at Ferrum College following a long tenure as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Virginia Tech. Former Roanoke standout and Ferrum assistant Olivia Earls is now in charge of Averett's program as it embarks on its first ODAC season.
- Olivia Earls (AU) -- First Season
- Erin Harris (BC) -- Overall: 179-138 (.565)/11 | at BC: 179-138 (.565)/11
- 1x ODAC Coach of the Year: 2018
- Casey Steinbrecher (EMU) -- Overall: 13-22 (.371)/2 | at EMU: 13-22 (.371)/2
- Shelbylynn Adair (FC) -- First Season
- Emily Gann (GC) -- Overall: 167-259 (.392)/16 | at GC: 167-259 (.392)/16
- Dave McGee (HU) -- Overall: 4-18/1 (.182) | at HU: 4-18 (.182)/1
- Hannah Givens (LYN) -- Overall: 20-19 (.513)/2 | at LYN: 20-19 (.513)/2
- Kara Matthews (RAND) -- Overall: 74-129 (.365)/8 | at RAND: 74-129 (.365)/8
- Bill Rogers (R-MC) -- Overall: 441-180 (.710)/20 | at R-MC: 441-180 (.710)/20
- 6x ODAC Coach of the Year: 2009, 12, 14-17
- Blair Trail (RC) -- Overall: 384-277 (.581)/23 | at RC: 384-277 (.581)/23
- Kent Clayberg (SU) -- Overall: 312-223 (.583)/18 | at SU: 22-42 (.344)/3
- Karissa Cumberbatch (VWU) -- Overall: 24-9 (.727)/1 | at VWU: 24-9 (.727)/1
- Bryan Snyder (W&L) -- Overall: 615-205 (.750)/24 | at W&L: 574-180 (.761)/22
- 11x ODAC Coach of the Year: 2001-06, 10-11, 13, 21 (spring), 21 (fall)
THE SCHEDULE AND TOURNAMENT
- The 13-team ODAC contingent will play a 12-match round-robin schedule in addition to each school's non-league slate.
- The top eight teams in the ODAC standings from conference play will qualify for the ODAC Women's Volleyball Tournament; the winner of the tournament will earn the conference's automatic entry to the NCAA postseason.
- The 2022 ODAC Women's Volleyball Tournament Schedule features:
- Quarterfinals: Wednesday, November 2 at the #1-4 Seeds
- Semifinals: Friday, November 4 at the two highest remaining seeds (bracket progression)
- Championship: Sunday, November 6 at the highest remaining seed
- All game times are TBD
- The NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Tournament field will be finalized on Sunday, November 6, with announcement on NCAA.com on Monday, November 7.
Listed below is the 2022 ODAC Women's Volleyball Preseason Poll. For more information on ODAC women's volleyball, visit the websites of any of the participating schools, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
2022 ODAC WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON POLL
|(#) Denotes First Place Votes|
|1. Washington and Lee University (12)||144 pts.|
|2. Virginia Wesleyan University (1)||122 pts.|
|3. Randolph-Macon College||119 pts.|
|4. Averett University||106 pts.|
|5. Bridgewater College||102 pts.|
|6. University of Lynchburg||92 pts.|
|7. Eastern Mennonite University||84 pts.|
|8. Roanoke College||70 pts.|
|9. Shenandoah University||58 pts.|
|10. Guilford College||42 pts.|
|11. Randolph College||38 pts.|
|12. Ferrum College||23 pts.|
|13. Hollins University||14 pts.|