Photo by Russell Marwitz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com
RICHARDSON, Texas- The American Southwest Conference released its 2023 Volleyball Preseason Poll on Tuesday afternoon, which has UMHB picked to finish third this fall.
The Crusaders are coming off a 2022 campaign in which they posted a 17-8 record, with a 10-5 mark in ASC play. UMHB earned one first-place vote in the preseason poll, and garnered 91 points from the 16-voter panel, which is made up of the conference’s sports information directors and coaches.
UT-Dallas earned the top spot, entering the season as the reigning conference champion, after taking down ETBU in straight sets in the championship match of the ASC Tournament in 2022. The Comets also reached the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, and received votes in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll last November. UTD earned 10 first-place votes in the preseason poll.
ETBU came in at No. 2 behind the Comets, with five voters putting them at No. 1. The Tigers had 109 points after reaching the 20-win mark in 2022 along with a 10-6 record in league play.
After UMHB at No. 3, Hardin-Simmons and LeTourneau rounded out the Top 5. Concordia (TX), McMurry, and Howard Payne were slotted in the bottom half of the poll. Sul Ross State, the ninth institution in the ASC, is transitioning to NCAA Division II, and will not count towards the league standings, or be eligible for the ASC or NCAA Tournaments. As a result of this, SRSU was not included in the preseason poll.
ASC Preseason Volleyball Poll (First-place votes in parentheses)
UMHB also placed two of its returning starters on the league’s “Players to Watch List”, as senior outside hitter Hannah Frasca and sophomore middle blocker Dravyn Hurd represented The Cru.
Frasca enters her senior year having been named First Team All-ASC in each of the last two seasons. As a freshman in the spring of 2021, the native of Spring, Texas earned the league’s Freshman of the Year honor in addition to being named First Team All-West Division.
Last season, she was named to the ASC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete Team and tallied a team-high 270 kills. She started 21 matches and played in 85 sets for The Cru.
As a freshman in 2022, Hurd tallied 86 kills in 74 sets played, and added 47 blocks, which ranked second on the team.
UMHB’s season opener is set for Sept. 1, when the Crusaders host Concordia College (MN) in an 11:15 a.m. match in Belton. UMHB also faces Simpson College at 6 p.m. that evening, and closes the weekend against Schreiner at 1:30 p.m on Sept. 2.