For the third consecutive season, the University of Tennessee volleyball team has been picked to finish third in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division, as determined by a vote of the league’s 11 head coaches, the conference office announced on Tuesday.
The Lady Vols finished behind Florida and Kentucky with a total of 25 points, including one first-place vote.
Following Florida (16 points), Kentucky (17) and Tennessee (25) in the East were South Carolina (36) and Georgia (46). Louisiana State, meanwhile, was the unanimous selection to win the Western Division for the second straight year, with Ole Miss (24), Alabama (25), Auburn (41), Arkansas (44) and Mississippi State (51) rounding out the group.
The Gators received the majority of the votes for SEC champion with seven, while Kentucky earned three and UT picked up a single nomination in the preseason survey.
Points were compiled on a 1-2-3-4-5-6 basis for the Western Division and 1-2-3-4-5 for the Eastern Division. Each coach was not allowed to vote for his or her own team, and each coach also voted for one team as an overall conference champion.
The Big Orange will open the 2009 season at home for just the second time in the past 11 years when it hosts the seventh annual Comcast Lady Vol Classic, Aug. 29-30.
UT will kick off the campaign with a noon showdown against 2008 Ohio Valley Conference Champion Tennessee Tech at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday, before squaring off against the winners of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, Western Kentucky, at 7 p.m. that same day. The final match of the tournament will pit the Lady Vols against Lipscomb at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.