Following a 2017 season that saw them earn their third Southland Conference Tournament title and make their third NCAA Tournament Appearance in the past six year, the Central Arkansas Sugar Bears have been picked by the league's coaches and sports information directors to finish second in the SLC standings in the 2018 season.
Defending regular season champion Stephen F. Austin was picked to finish atop the league table, taking 14 of 27 first place votes for a total of 276 points, while the Sugar Bears were hot on the Ladyjacks' heels with 11 first-place votes and 270 points.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi sits third with 208 points and Houston Baptist was tabbed to finish fourth with 201 points.
Abilene Christian, who the Sugar Bears defeated in the 2017 Southland Conference Championship Match, was picked fifth with 197 points, while Northwestern State took the final first place vote to come in sixth with 196 points.
"Like last year, I believe our conference gets better and better each year," Central Arkansas coach Jeni Jones Chatman said. "There were countless two- and three-way ties last season for almost all of the finishing spots. I believe this year will be more of the same. Our players are anxious to get the 2018 non-conference and conference seasons underway."
The Sugar Bears open the 2018 season with a pair of tournaments on the road, traveling to Davidson, North Carolina, and Martin, Tennessee, over the next two weeks. Central Arkansas will take on Davidson at 6 p.m. on Friday evening before facing William and Mary (9 a.m.) and Marist (3 p.m.) on Saturday, while the weekend of Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 sees them square off with UT Martin (6 p.m., Aug. 30), UAB (noon, Aug. 31), Memphis (11 a.m., Sept. 1) and Florida A&M (3 p.m., Sept. 1).
The Sugar Bears will then return home for the Central Arkansas Invitational during the first full weekend of September, hosting Little Rock (7 p.m., Sept. 6), South Dakota (7 p.m., Sept. 7) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1 p.m., Sept. 8) at the Farris Center.
For more information on the Southland Conference Volleyball Preseason Poll, visit: http://southland.org/news/2018/8/20/womens-volleyball-stephen-f-austin-picked-to-repeat-regular-season-volleyball-title.aspx.